Monday, 20 July 2015

I've Just Seen: The Woman in Black (2012)

The Woman in Black (2012)
Director: James Watkins
Writer: Jane Goldman, from Susan Hill's novel

When I was a wee teenager the subject of my youthful infatuations was Daniel Radcliffe; it went as far as going to see him at a film premiere in Australia. My 'love' was only increased when I realised that he was not much taller than me (he's apparently 5'5, I am 4'11). A few years later I decided that such feelings belonged in my youth and stopped believing I would marry (it would never work, he supports the English Cricket Team!). But I did not stop watching his post-Potter career, and found his choices interesting. I had wanted to see The Woman in Black since it came out, but was wary, not being a fan of horror. Now, with my greater understanding of the genre, I was eager to watch it.

Radcliffe is very good in the film, carrying the lead well. His large, soulful eyes are particularly handy in the scenes where he is alone in the scary house. The supporting cast are also good; Ciaran Hinds is a voice of sanity and hospitality in a suspicious, hostile town. As with many of these types of films the production design is important, and they did a good job here, with lots of wonderful objects scattered around the haunted house. Grief plays a significant role in the film, fuelling much of Radcliffe's character Arthur, who pursues the mystery of the ghost with a morbid desire for knowledge about death.

I was not scared during the film, but the subject matter is quite disturbing, particularly if you are unsettled by seeing children in danger. I had read Hill's book several years ago, and remember a rather different ending. I shall have to go back and re-read it.

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