As you know, I am not a fan of horror films. So even when a gothic horror film comes along that is the kind of film I might find truly frightening, I am not likely to catch it at the cinema. Of, course, being frightened is not my idea of a good time, so that is not going to encourage me. But I knew I had to watch this film, so I finally caught it on Blu-ray.
The Woman in Black is a ghost story about a man spending far too much time alone in a dark haunted house. The Blu-ray cover says: “Don’t watch it alone.” So I watched it alone in an empty house at night with all the lights off. ‘Lights off’ is the way I watch all my films. Since the film is trying to scare viewers, I find the advice confusing. Surely, for maximum effect, you should actually encourage people to watch the film alone in the dark. It certainly worked for me.
The Woman in Black features solid acting by Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds and Janet McTeer, as well as magnificent cinematography (I actually regretted not seeing this on the big screen). It takes place almost a century ago and, while it doesn’t try to be a pure period film (the speech is contemporary), it does create a strong sense of place (i.e. somewhere in the UK a century ago).
Two other things make The Woman in Black work: a truly frightening haunted house (director James Watkins and crew do a great job creating the perfect haunted house, inside and out) and an ending that does not disappoint.
The Woman in Black is a bleak, serious and scary film. For me, it is much more enjoyable than horror films which feature blood and gore (and zombies - I hate zombies), so I am giving it a solid ***. My mug is up.
Coming up next: Seven Psychopaths, which I watched a month ago (it has been one of those insanely busy months, what with vacationing in Europe…).