SYNOPSIS: A young lawyer (Radcliffe) travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.
How time flies. Daniel Radcliffe was only a little over 11 years old when he first rose to fame as Harry Potter and now he is portraying a character with a 4 years old kid.
“The Woman In Black”, the sophomore effort by James Watkins is an old school horror thriller set in late 1800s. Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps, a young lawyer who is still grieving for his wife who died while giving birth to their son, Joseph. Kipps is given a last chance by his law firm to settle the sale of a manor called Eel Marsh House which belonged to an eccentric old woman or risk being fired. Encountering bizarre deaths of young children and experiencing images of a woman in black after he arrived in the small English town, Kipps realized they are not mere coincidences but somehow the happenings are linked to the old manor.
While “The Woman In Black” is not spared of the usual horror clichés such as creaking wood, automated opening doors/knob, creepy looking porcelain toys and dolls and even creepier children, it’s a class act overall. Watkins prefer to keep things under wraps and he is not afraid to let the spooky atmosphere takes the front seat instead of unleashing huge amount of bloody, gruesome violence unlike its American counterparts. A prolonged 20 minutes sequence which has Kipps alone in the huge manor sent chills down your spine as you follow him along dark corridor and insane, gothic-dressed rooms. Unfortunately, the tension is constantly interrupted with unnecessary loud, scary sound effects, a common flaw found in horror movies.
For his first official post-Potter outing as the leading man, Radcliffe actually delivers a satisfactory performance as the grieving widower opposite veteran Ciaran Hinds (John Carter) who plays the local wealthy folk, Sam Daily, a man who lost his son in a drowning accident. The unlikely duo finds themselves unravelling the mystery behind the vengeful spirit and with that, any further disclosure will spoil your viewing experience.
Despite a rather standard ghostly story setting, there are plenty of old-school thrills and effective scares contained in this Hammer production. Probably you might even feel hesitant to look out of your window the next time.
The visual quality is impressive with balanced black levels and skin tones. Images on the whole look good on the DVD transfer. The loud sound effects are limited by the sole Dolby Digital 2.0. Unless you are not into fancy 5.1 that transcends across the speakers, you might find it disappointing.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee