In The Woman in Black, Daniel Radcliffe stars as Arthur Kipps, a widowed lawyer who is sent to a remote English village to sort out and then sell the home of recently deceased eccentric.
When he arrives, he finds that he’s not the most welcome person to grace the town and slowly, he realizes that they are hiding a long held secret: The house is haunted by the ghost of a woman who is determined to destroy the lives of each family by killing their children in horrible, deliberate accidents. But with the help of Sam (Ciaran Hinds), the two set out to rid the town of the evil and hopefully save the lives of the ones that they love.
Set in the year 1888, the film is everything you want it to be for that period; it’s rainy, foggy and moody, filled with characters who are cloaking secrets and just enough mystery to let you be suspicious of everyone.
Radcliffe, in his first on-screen role since the Harry Potter series ended, does a great job of washing away that character. I never once thought of him as Harry. Yes, the two characters do have things in common – they are both brave, headstrong and have great hair (Don’t tell me they don’t!) – but Radcliffe has developed into such a wonderful character actor that each character is totally different.
The film is a classic ghost story, the kind we don’t see anymore in a multi-plex of Saw‘s and Human Centipede‘s. It’s a slow burn film where the real payoff comes at the end and if you stick with it, you will want to thank the filmmakers. It’s not every day you see an ending like this.
One thing I did not like is that it did the classic horror/thriller/ghost story mistake of having the main character staying behind when clearly, the normal and rational decision would be to get the hell out of the house. But, since this was the only cliche that I found in the film, it’s forgiven.
And where the heck have I been? Ciaran Hinds? With this film and Tinker Tailor, he’s now on my ‘Find Every Movie He’s In And Watch It’ list. The guy is fantastic.
You can’t go wrong with The Woman in Black.