The Movie Waffler New Release Review - The Woman In Black | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - The Woman In Black

Directed by: James Watkins
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Janet McTeer

Though they now have a few movies under their belt since their reincarnation, this is really the first Hammer production that recalls the gothic tradition we associate the iconic studio with.
As it turns out this has more in common with Asian horror of the noughties than British horror of the sixties. Watkins styles his title character after the long dark haired spirits of movies like "The Ring" and "The Grudge". With "Eden Lake" he showed he could pull off visceral horror but when it comes to building atmosphere he's not quite so skilled. There are so many fake jump scares in the opening act that the genuine scares lose their impact when they arrive. Every scare moment is accompanied by a loud, crashing, and totally unnecessary sound effect, as if he worries the audience might be nodding off. The music too is hackneyed and overblown, if you watched this with the sound down it would be a far more effective film.
There was a lot of debate about whether Radcliffe was the right choice to carry this film but he's perfectly fine here. Yes, he does look very fresh faced despite his designer stubble but at the time the movie is set people grew up a lot faster than in the modern world. Hinds is perfectly suited to this type of movie and if Hammer continue down this road he should become part of their stable.
The UK TV network ITV produced a far superior version of this in 1989 and on a tenth of the budget. If anything the extra cash available to Watkins is the movie's biggest hindrance, horror is best kept in the shadows, here there's too much on display.