The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black

Radcliffe’s newest movie isn’t Oscar-worthy, but it’s a wonderfully fun scare.

Recent months have found me at war with my own sudden post-Harry Potter crush on Daniel Radcliffe. “At least he’s legal,” my logical brain reminds me, while the rest of me whines back, “But he’s Harry-effin’-Potter! You can’t crush on Harry Potter!” Aside from that, though, I have always thought that Radcliff was a pretty stellar actor, and I look forward to his work now that the Hogworts-era films of his youth are complete.

Yesterday I went to see The Woman in Black with six friends, and I cannot fully report on its scariness since most of the women present—okay, yours truly included—were acting like idiots, giggling and joking about the Hogwarts Express every time they saw a train in order to diffuse the film’s terror. That said, I can tell you that while it isn’t the best film ever made—or even the best scary film ever made—it’s definitely one of my favorite scary movies, and it was a lot of fun to watch and jump with.

The film takes place in the early 1900s and is the story of a young widower lawyer who must travel to a small, spooky town to sort a recently deceased woman’s papers and last testament. The village is full of people who are unfriendly to the young man, though they won’t tell him why—and most call for him to leave the village, as well as to not set foot on the old property of the deceased woman. Of course, he doesn’t listen—why should he when no one is clear about why?—and hell on earth ensues.

The movie involves a lot of child deaths, so if that bothers you like it bothers me—which is a LOT—you may want to skip it. It also veers far away from the book, particularly with its ending, so if you will be bothered by that, keep it in mind. All of that said, this movie takes every scary movie element and blends them all together to create a wonderful chiller that incorporates what we expect with what we don’t in an exceptionally creepy setting, making it perfect for the scary movie lover who could skip the gore for more jump-moments.

From clowns to wind-up toys, lights going out to creepy messages on the wall, you can expect every trick in the book in this movie. There are even sequences that make you jump over and over again to the point that you are expecting to jump again. That said, there’s something about these techniques that, when employed well, make you want to revisit them over and over again. Even though they’ve been done many times before, if they work, I certainly don’t get sick of them—and the film has received largely positive reviews so far, so I doubt many other horror fans do, either.