Friday, 03 February 2012 01:00

The Woman in Black Featured

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CBS Films, Alliance Films, Cross Creek Pictures and Talisman Productions present a PG-13, 95 minute, drama, horror, thriller directed by James Watkins, screenplay by Jane Goldman and novel by Susan Hill with a theatrical release of February 3, 2011.

 

Three young girls having a tea party in the attic suddenly look into the camera straight into the eyes of the audience, stand up walk across their room and jump out the windows to their deaths.  A young lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is instructed by his firm to travel to Mrs. Alice Drablow (Alisa Khazanova) estate to review her will and papers left behind in the home.  Arthur a single father of one son, Joseph (Misha Handley) still struggles with the death of his wife but leaves his son in the care of his Nanny (Jessica Raine) expecting to see him again in a few days.

While traveling to a small village town by train Arthur befriends his compartment companion Sam Daily (Ciaran Hinds) and his dog.  Arthur explains to Sam he is on his way to visit the Eel Marsh house in order to close her estate with the help of the town solicitor Mr. Jerome (Tim McMullan).  Sam extends his services and offers Arthur a ride into the village.  The townspeople are far from friendly to Arthur upon his arrival since they know of his purpose and for some odd reason want nothing to do with him but rather ask that he return to from where he came.

Way out in the outskirts of town along a distant road that covers over with water during high tide creating an island in the distance is where the Eel Marsh house sits.  Filled with many interesting features, covered in dust, dark and quite dreary Arthur discovers many interesting aspects of the large home.  Odd sounds fill the house, shadows lurk throughout the halls and voices are heard within the marsh but nothing as disturbing as a woman he continues to see throughout the property.  When he returns back into town for the evening he is confronted with the fact that the children in town are dying very odd and quick deaths.  He visits the Daily home for dinner one night and is asked to stay by Sam and his wife Elizabeth (Janet McTeer) but not to bring up their son Nicholas  (Sidney Johnston) who they lost some time ago.  Now they share their home with the twins, two small white dogs that are treated truly as part of the family, pampered in many ways.  It is interesting to see the dog’s reactions at the dinner table when Elizabeth goes into a crazy emotional fit.

Do you believe in superstitions?  In death is there life afterwards by chance in Heaven?  Or do we wander this life in which we live now as a ghost endlessly seeking answers to so many questions about life and death?  It is not until the night in which Arthur decides to spend the night at the Eel Marsh house alone that everything begins to come ghostly frightening.  Even Sam’s companion dog that he left to keep Arthur company had visions of this mysterious woman in black.  On the property there happens to be a cemetery in which Arthur notices a tombstone that reads the name Nathaniel Drablow who happened to die at the age of seven but his body was never found and of course not buried.  Alice had a sister Jennet buried there as well but for some reason in letters found within the house Arthur discovered that there was tension amongst the two women which involved Nathaniel. 

“You could have saved him” is scrawled across the wall in the child’s old bedroom and letters are found that express the same sentiments.  It appears this woman in black is hoping to be reunited with her son and maybe then will her curse be lifted.  It is said that even the most rational minds can play tricks in the dark so next time you think you see a shadow in the dark it could be attached to something more threatening than you could ever imagine.  Soon Arthur’s son Joseph arrives with his Nanny by train to reunite with his father but little did they know that Stella (Sophia Stuckey) would be arriving as well.  In the end she will never forgive you but she may just do you a favor!

I really enjoyed this film from beginning to end.  James Watkins, known to me as a writer of “The Decent: part 2” really does nice work directing this suspenseful thriller that leaves you sitting in your theatre seat checking every mirror and every dark corner of the rooms on the screen in search of the next place this woman in black will appear.  The writing and the plot are also very intriguing, at times a bit juvenile but for the most part intriguing.  There are many moments throughout the entire story that involve just Radcliffe on screen and without words but just actions and emotions.  He projects his character so well making the audience follow his every movement waiting and anticipating his next encounter with this scorned woman of the Eel Marsh house.  Great photography especially in the outside scenes with beautiful earthy landscapes that may look dreary while enhancing the actors that stand out enveloped with an ideal score sure to compliment the story.

Radcliffe is all grown up, looking the part as a young attractive father intrigued by the woman in black yet later on fearful of her and her purpose for remaining within the house and the village.  He truly carries the entire story sometimes appearing one dimensional but overall authentic to the plot.  Hinds also does a nice job as a supporting character to Radcliffe in his quest for answers.  Even though most of the surroundings in the village are filled with unexplained strange characters it is McTeer that really brings out the crazy.  In the end though it is Khazanova that turns on the scary even though without words her look and screams say enough to make you jump from your seat and turn on all the lights in your house when you arrive home after a night at the theatre watching this purely well done suspenseful thriller.  So much for broom sticks, wands and white owls, Harry Potter is all grown up and can truly carry a film on his own.  Appreciated for its old terror tactics of suspense and eerie thrills rather than gore and loss of limbs this review is written with three paws out of four by Jon Patch.

Read 6448 times Last modified on Friday, 03 February 2012 01:06
Jon Patch

Graduated from Penn State University in 1983 and landed my first broadcasting job at the flagship station to SUN Radio Network in St. Petersburg, FL as a producer of talk radio. In 3 months advanced to a network producer, then on air as a national eventually local weather reporter for the Tampa Bay area. Held a position in management as a trainer to new hosts and producers and later Affiliate Relations Manager, eventually in 1990 started hosting, Talkin' Pets. Left SUN radio several years later and worked with USA Radio Networks for 1 year. I worked with Business TalkRadio & Lifestyle TalkRadio Networks for19 years under the title of V.P. Affiliate Relations and Programming, later worked with Genesis Communications until starting a new network ATRN.  Currently working with GAB Radio Network and with Josh Leng at Talk Media Network.  I am still hosting the largest and longest running pet radio and internet show in the country, Talkin' Pets, for the past 29 years... My one true passion in life is to help to educate the world through interviews with celebrities like Betty White, Tippi Hedren, Bob Barker, Linda Blair and others, authors, foundations and organizations like the ASPCA, LCA, HSUS, AHA, WSPA on the ways to make this world a better place for all animals and mankind whom all share this very fragile and mysterious planet called earth. This is the only home we have so we all need to learn how to share and maintain it so that life for us all continues and evolves forever...

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