Daniel Radcliff stars in the latest offering from Hammer productions, The Woman in Black, which stars Radcliff as a young Solicitor [Arthur kipps], who is assigned to travel to a remote village to handle the estate of Alice Drablow who owned El Marsh House which was situated near the village. Whilst he is living on the island he notices that the locals aren’t taking kindly to his visit and he also discovers that a vengeful ghost is seeking refuge in the house and has been terrifying the locals and casting a shadow over the village for years.
The Woman in Black is the latest hammer Films production after the studio was revamped after vampire horror Let Me In and their homage to Psycho with the The Resident, which received mixed reviews. The Woman in Black however is their most bold, classic and intense film to date and which had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end, like watching an exciting poker game.
It’s the performance from Daniel Radcliff that’s the emotional drive of the movie and is a character that you can empathize with and when the scares come thick and fast you feel that you are sharing the terror and the experience with him. His character has little dialogue but for this he makes up for in his expressions as in the majority of the film he spends his time creeping around the house and peeking around corners, he is excellent at looking scared. As far as the Harry Potter films is a step up in terms of his acting ability and on screen presence and is completely differently role altogether from the boy wizard we all know and love. The film is proof that Radcliff has matured as an actor this film playing a father to an only child and has extra stubble for effect to make him look older. This film clearly shows that he is a smart, clever actor with a very bright future and career ahead.
The other main achievement of the film is the scare levels as this the telling of a classic ghost story, and they don’t more classic than this as it is an excellent script by Jane Goldman which focuses on Radcliff’s character and his struggle with life. The film mainly relies on the build up and slow burn in order for the scares to really have an effect. One scene in particular which had me wincing and cowering in my seat in the cinema was the use of old dolls and toys which randomly come to life and really set the tone for the movie.
The other main highlight of the film was its development and the production side as when it was decided that Daniel Radcliff was casted for the main role, before filming he saw a Psychiatrist to find out more about the character in order to try and understand him. Also the other smart move was refusing to release the film in 3D as this was considered at an earlier stage.
Don’t underestimate the 12A rating of the film as it contains scenes of psychological horror and menace which is sustained throughout the movie. There is no violence or gore and I feel that horror films are much scarier this way, that contain scenes which literally make you jump out of your seat in sheer terror. It is certainly not one to take young children to see during the school holidays.
Overall, The Woman in Black is a brilliant British film and is Hammer Film Productions best film to date as it goes back to its original roots which swaps violence and gore for old-school scares. The film has a really classical feel to and features a solid performance from Daniel Radcliff that shows he can show variety as an actor. The film is the jumpiest 12A that I have seen and offers some great twists and turns. It is certainly one you will come out of the cinema thinking about after it has finished [and maybe even a couple of days later]. It will certainly make you switch on a light the next time you enter a room.