“The Woman in Black” falls far from spooky by relying on familiar scares and a predictable plot.
Daniel Radcliffe plays the heartbroken widower and father, Arthur Kipps, who is trying to make ends meet for him and his son. Kipps works as a lawyer and is sent to work in a small town to resolve the legal affairs of the late Alice Drablow and selling her home located in a marshland, Eels Mansion.
Kipps notices something is awry when a majority of the locals treat him rudely or ignore him completely.
After arriving at Eels Mansion, he quickly realizes that he is not alone.
Daily, played by Ciarán Hinds, is the only person willing to help Kipps as he attempts to work through the eerie sounds and shadows that seem to move.
After a young girl dies in his presence, Daily informs Kipps of the string of child deaths that have surrounded the town and their relation to the Eels Mansion.
Kipps then decides to take the fates of the town and his son into his own hands.
“The Woman in Black” does a decent job of making its audience jump, but it lacks the original thrills needed to stick in a viewer’s mind.
The film’s early 20th century setting adds an element of creepy to the story with a dreary atmosphere and subdued colors.
Scenes receive an extra element of terror and loneliness as most scenes primarily take place in the Eels Mansion on the marshlands. The setting and scenery have the potential to add a unique sinister feel that is not frequently utilized.
The effects are often nothing more than a chairs rocking with no one in them, shadows moving, or bumps and creaks. The sound effects are adequate and placed properly for optimum scares, but sounds are the only real scares the film has to offer. The use of a green screen is painfully obvious and leaves a bigger impression than the movie’s plot.
Cheap, unoriginal thrills, like loud noises and ghosts jumping out of shadows, are the film’s main source of scares.
The film’s reliance on these clichéd elements makes the uninspired plot seem even duller.
Radcliffe’s acting is satisfactory.
His role seems like it would be more appropriate for an older actor, but Radcliffe succeeds overall in his first major film since the “Harry Potter” series.
His role as Kipps is strong enough to show that he is talented and willing enough to break away from the role of Harry Potter.
“The Woman in Black” has the opportunity to be a refreshing break from the bloody cliché horror movies have become, but the weak plot, inadequate effects and cheap thrills waste this potential.
“The Woman in Black” is rated PG-13 for thematic material and violence/disturbing images.