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The Woman In Black (2012)

February 3rd, 2012 by unkle lancifer · 17 Comments

Traveling to the movie theater this aftern0on I said to myself “Lancey” — that’s what I call myself – “if you’re going to jump ship the first time a rotten looking CGI ghost appears, then turn right around and don’t bother.” Guess what though? I didn’t have to worry, THE WOMAN IN BLACK is not as CGI-heavy as the commercials might have you believe. I’m thinking some of the TV spots have been tinkered with and exaggerated because on the big screen, everything looks mostly kosher and solid. In fact, this is a great looking film. Even if there was no story or sound, I could probably watch this thing as a slide show. It’s very Goth-centric and chilly with fog, rain and marshy mildew all over the place. In other words, this is that dusty-doily type of spook show that I love and am always in the mood for. As far as I’m concerned, the world can keep its torture and rape and I’ll take all the wind up monkeys that come to life for no reason.

This movie terrified me from the onset with the notion that DANIEL RADCLIFFE was old enough to be the father of a four year old. Wasn’t he a kid two days ago? Talk about chilling. I’m really getting old! I’m going to be dead soon! After drilling that horrific idea into my head, the movie shoved a funnel in the open wound and began to pour all of my favorite depressing things inside: death, loss, suicide, hangings, the idea that a person could be so destroyed by an event that they never recover or so trapped in the molasses of grief that they end up haunting themselves, etc. This is my jam and I’m doing the twist in my head and I’m doing that twist to early records by THE CURE.

I was very lucky that a gaggle of young girls who I suspect were RADCLIFFE fans sat a couple rows behind me. The only other people in the theater were an older couple to my right. The teenagers had a blast screaming at every loud noise or appearance of the title apparition. One of them was fake crying through the heavier scares. I kept thinking, “Thank God it’s not a group of boys behind me because they would have to prove how unscarable they are to each other and ruin the whole thing.” I’m not going to tell you anymore. It’s a movie about a guy and a ghost, a ghost who has a hard time forgiving. It takes place in a small town where only one person has a newfangled car. There are beautiful houses in it covered in vines and there are a couple scenes that are pretty flipping creepy.

If you are a fan of THE OTHERS or THE CHANGELING, you’ll probably like this. There are a couple of great moments that might remind you of THE INNOCENTS and a couple of weak spots that may remind you of hokier more modern fare like DARNESS FALLS. Those lesser moments are brief, so who cares! Sorry if this review is lame but I wanted to get it done quick so that if anyone was on the fence about seeing it, I could push him or her off and say, “Go ahead!” This review could also be lame because I am now having a beer and yes, definitely listening to THE CURE! (Not doing the twist though.)

P.S.: This movie was directed by the same guy (JAMES WATKINS) who did EDEN LAKE which I approve of. He also wrote THE DESCENT 2 which I didn’t care for but maybe the director of that one screwed it up. The screenplay was written by JANE GOLDMAN (KICK ASS) based on the novel by SUSAN HILL. There, now I feel better.

Tags: General Horror · Trauma Au Courant · Trauma-Mommas · Tykes in Trouble

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 HarryNo Gravatar // Feb 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    “As far as I’m concerned, the world can keep its torture and rape and I’ll take all the wind up monkeys that come to life for no reason.”

    Lancey (I may call you Lancey, mayn’t I?), I think you just might be my long-lost twin.

    Wonderful review. I’m going to save this one for Valentine’s Day, as a sort of love letter to myself. I’ve been looking forward to it for awhile, since it purportedly has, as your review reminds me, virtually every single thing I love in a movie.

    For anyone who’s interested, it’s also not only based on a Susan Hill novel, but a remake of a British ITV movie (made for TV! made for TV!). It’s a huge source of British kindertraumas, having a scene that is reported to be one of the most terrifying in all of British TV horror (and that’s saying something). The entire program may be viewed starting here. Enjoy!

  • 2 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 3, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks Harry, I always wanted a twin!

    And what a great link. I had no idea that was on Youtube and I’d love to watch it and compare the two.

    Make sure you come back and tell me what you think of the movie once you’ve seen it.

    I’m sure it’s a bit more flashy than the TV version but I think it still maintains a great respect for a more classic approach to horror.

    So nice to see something like this on the big screen again.

    You know it’s a good movie when you leave the theater, look around at the real world and say, “Ick, this place again?”

    I need a home closer to the marsh.

  • 3 bdwilcoxNo Gravatar // Feb 4, 2012 at 5:18 am

    Speaking of the Cure, have you seen Robert Smith lately? Whoo, not aging gracefully there. The last time I saw him he looked like a fuller faced Alice Cooper. Normally, I wouldn’t make fun of someone’s looks as they get older, but if you’re going to wear the crazy hair and garish make-up, make sure you look like a rock star and not some crazy cat-lady.

  • 4 Joanna BoeseNo Gravatar // Feb 4, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I had seen this story performed onstage 15 years ago in London, and it was a play that consisted of two people on a bare stage, plus a shadowy figure. (It’s also still running to this day.) HOWEVER, the ending to that one was entirely different, as this was a story told in retrospect. I won’t give away the ending to the film, but it was entirely different, but somehow, happy. Usually, it irks me when that happens (Like “The Time Machine” with Guy Pearce as the ending destroyed Wells’ work) but somehow, I’m okay with it.

  • 5 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 4, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Bdwilcox, Haha. Aw, well lets be honest RS was always more cat lady than rock star! Lets hope he stays off the beach. I’m still recovering from that Steven Tyler picture.

    JB- I’d love to see that play. There needs to be more horror plays! When I was younger I saw Deathtrap and that was actually kind of scary at one point . Also the Screwtape Letters freaked me out a bit.
    Plays always embarrass me horribly for the first ten minutes and then I really get into them.

  • 6 Amanda By NightNo Gravatar // Feb 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I was finally able to come by and read this!

    I just saw the movie at the first showing this morning. I had the same group of girls behind me, and their gasps and screams made it just that much more fun (they must have got on the Mega Bus last night to get here!)!

    I thought it was excellent. Moody and tragic, and in that respect it’s keeps the tone of the 1989 version. I also liked the ending, although I probably didn’t like it more than the other one. Radcliffe was fantastic as the devastated solicitor, with those bloodshot world weary eyes. All in all, I think it was a wonderfully creepy movie that stands really closely to the TVM version, which is so dear to my heart.

  • 7 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 4, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    I’m so out of it! I did not realize that this movie was such a big deal because it is Radcliff’s first post-Potter role. Now I understand. I haven’t really followed Harry Potter except in Lego PS3 form.

    Anyway, I thought he was really good in this and very believable and I easily accepted him in this adult role.

    And that is coming from somebody who still sees Leo DiCaprio as a kid no matter how fat his head gets. (Am I the only one who thinks the old age make up on him in Hoover looks ridiculous?)

    What was my point? Oh, I keep hearing from people who have gone to see WIB that the theaters are filled with teenage girls and I had no idea his following with them was so huge.

  • 8 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Feb 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    So here is the TV spot I was talking about…..check out the woman’s face at about 0:13…

    In the movie. It’s just a normal face in the window. Like at the beginning of this TV spot…

    I dunno it made a big difference to me that I never got taken out of this movie due to too much CGI.

  • 9 micksterNo Gravatar // Feb 4, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    I saw the movie today and thoroughly enjoyed it. It made me jump numerous times. The ending even made me tear up. It is quite obvious that Daniel Radcliffe has an acting career beyond Harry Potter to look forward to. There should be more good old fashioned ghost stories like this one on the big screen.

  • 10 Dave MoyerNo Gravatar // Feb 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    I’m going to disagree with a couple of things, but only slightly. I saw this movie this morning and I had some reasonable expectations after reading the review here. I will say this was a good movie. It could have been a great movie but it suffered from way too many crashing-music-as-something-jumps-out-at-you moments. Someone really needs to instruct film makers in the difference between being scared and being startled.

    This movie lacks a certain subtlety I was hoping for in a period atmospheric piece. That being said, it had a few good, solid tension-building moments that kept it from being just another what-can-jump-out-of-the-closet-at-you movies.

    Over all, it was worth seeing and, if you like the kind of BOO!!! moments this movie has in abundance, you will probably like it more than I did.


    And, before anyone comments on it, yes… hyphens are cool.

  • 11 Meep ParkerNo Gravatar // Feb 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Loved this review. I read it aloud to my wife. It made our ghost story-Cure lovin’ hearts happy. Saw the Movie earlier today. A real good time. Those who haven’t seen it really must go.

  • 12 Chuckles72No Gravatar // Feb 6, 2012 at 11:30 am

    While The Woman in Black is Radcliffe’s first post-Potter role, he showed some non-Potter chops in “December Boys” in 2007. I was expecting his presence to be a distraction in that film, but he slipped into that more subdued role very well and created a believable character.

    I have yet to see TWIB – I spent my horror film bux on “The Innkeepers” which was even better than “The House of the Devil” which is, IMHO, saying a lot.

  • 13 Chuckles72No Gravatar // Feb 6, 2012 at 11:37 am

    @bdwilcox –

    Yeah – Smith is looking more hideous drag queen than Goth overlord these days. Arch-nemesis Morrissey is looking old as hell too, which is somehow more disturbing.

    I guess “arch-nemesis” is overdoing it – what was going to happen if they met? Assuming that things got physical, I can’t imagine a contest with less lasting damage.

  • 14 ApocalypsejunkieNo Gravatar // Feb 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I’ll take atmospheric horror over torture porn any day of the week.

    RS in a banana hammock? ((((((SHUDDER)))))

  • 15 PinchyNo Gravatar // Feb 8, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Just seeing the Hammer logo onscreen is worth the price of admission.

  • 16 cmcmcmcmNo Gravatar // Feb 16, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    I finally got around to seeing this after recovering from 2 weeks of the flu – and MAN! I really dug it! It was so so soooooo what I was hoping for. Just GREAT atmosphere and some genuinely creepy moments – and no stupid looking ghosts. The woman in black is so the opposite of a crappy CGI ghost it’s not even funny, even if she was CGI. They did a great job on her.

    Plus it was very different than the original and the book (haven’t seen the play so I don’t know about that) which made it really enjoyable and surprising, IMO anyways.

  • 17 cmcmcmcmNo Gravatar // Feb 16, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    And that hanging part? Holy cow that scared the CRAP out of me! That was super creepy and so fast. I want to see it again.

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