The Woman in Black – 2 out of 5
Is it possible to make an entire horror film with only two horror flick clichés? The Woman in Black proves you can.
|"I'm here to show you to the house. The previous occupants named it 'HOLY |
LIVING FUCK ON A CRACKER I'M BEING KILLED BY A GHOST!'"
Daniel Radcliffe is Arthur Kipps, a widowed lawyer in London who is given one last chance with his job when he is sent to a small, “out on yonder” village, specifically to the Eel Marsh house. While there he discovers the house holds a terrible secret…and, of course, that secret is an angry spirit of a woman out to claim the lives of any children who enter the house…even one’s who are supposedly all powerful wizards but, in reality, proved to be just really lucky and survived due to the efforts of a more powerful female wizard that was his friend and with little to no help from the responsible adult wizards that made up the faculty of the school.
Let’s face it, even if you are a die-hard scary movie fan, you have to admit that there are a whole host of rules, clichés and formulas this genre sticks to. Occasionally we get ones that are completely unlike anything we’ve seen but, for the most part, they are usually just a collection of sequences in a plot that we’ve seen over and over again. The Woman in Black only uses two of the most obvious (and overdone) devices this genre has had and, in doing so, makes a completely boring horror film that only gives up a few minor chilling moments.
|Like that, that is fucking scary.|
First off, the story to The Woman in Black is older than the actual printed word. The entire movie is centered on the idea of a restless spirit that died in a fit of rage and betrayal and the film’s protagonist is trying to find out why before trying to appease the ghoul—little known fact, chocolate usually is all it takes to make an angry ghost happy because who doesn’t like chocolate? I won’t fault the movie for this but its presentation is so “color-by-numbers” that this adaptation of a book of the same name should have just remained a book because we’ve already seen this type of story told over and over again in the movieverse...not to mention in the bookverse, televisionverse and scary-stories-around-the-campfireverse.
|Some context here...anyone who buys a toy like this for their child is destined|
to become an evil, vengeful spirit.
Secondly, The Woman in Black decides to tell its already unimaginative story by utilizing one of the absolute WORST horror film clichés in the business: The “I heard a noise; I’m going to slowly walk towards it and investigate it.” Nearly 90% of the film is Harry Potter searching for the sound he heard in the spooky manor and, occasionally, this is rewarded with a mildly chilling glimpse of the woman with an affinity for black…the rest of the time it’s nothing.
|"I'm outside...how am I suppose to follow all the sounds I'm hearing out here?"|
There is a moment or two when this film does offer up some semblance of a scary scene when you see the shrieking harpy that is the lady in black and, don’t get me wrong, they are fairly decent and worked in making the skin crawl but, the sad reality was, there is only about two, maybe three, scenes like this and you have to spend the rest of the time establishing why this woman is haunting the house (and the truth is just mind-numbingly obvious) and watching Radcliffe walk aimlessly through the manor for a sound that any normal person in real life would make them go, “Was that a sound? Maybe it was a ghost? Nah, this isn’t a movie and besides Glee ain’t going to watch itself.”
|Little known fact: Ciarán Hinds can turn his head almost entirely around|
his body like an owl.
|"I'm totes an adult. My in-no-way-fake driver's license|
|"Does being molested by Hagrid count as 'sex?' If so, I've had The Sex|
plenty of times."
The Woman in Black has its moments, albeit they are very few and far between. Add to the fact Radcliffe’s youthful appearance combined with the film is nearly an hour and a half of “let’s find where that small noise that we may or may not have heard came from,” makes it fails to really deliver in any real sense of the word.