The Woman in Black (2012) Review
The long review starts like this: The Woman in Black while well-directed, well-edited, and a decent movie, has some major bumps and will not be nominated for movie of the year.
Visually, this movie is stunning. Crisp, HD footage that really shows all the detail in the faces meets a stark color scheme that plays mostly with blacks and whites. It truly feels like turn-of-the-century England. The pacing was spot on. When they wanted you to feel fear, or relief, or shock, that’s what you felt. It is a sufficiently creepy movie.
The art direction, done by Paul Ghirardani (imdb.com), is my favorite element in the entire piece. Yes, the directing is solid. Yes, the editing sets the mood. But the art direction really pulls everything together. Like with most horror films, the physical space of each scene lends a lot to the overall effect. The amount of detail that each set was given was simply phenomenal.
That being said, there a quite a few pitfalls that make this movie suffer. Daniel Radcliffe’s acting is one of them. If you’ve ever seen Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets then you will know what I mean. His facial expressions, his emotions, everything about his performance was identical to Chamber. I was excited to see if he would be able to break away from “Harry Potter” but that’s all I was able to see throughout the film. In fact, the best performance was from Ciaran Hinds (imdb.com), as Sam Daily.
The other major flaw was the amount of questions that are never answered. I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know if those questions are covered in the original text. But, there are holes in the movie that could’ve been answered with an extra 10 minutes of screen time.
Overall, I left the theatre feeling creeped out, which is the goal of every horror movie. So, I would call it a success. It’s got some flaws, but it’s a solid film that would be great to see on a rainy day. As long as you don’t go into it expecting to see Daniel Radcliffe break away from Harry Potter, you should enjoy The Woman in Black.