18 August 2012

Movies: The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black (2012) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1596365/

Horror drama

Set in the early 1900s young realty company worker Arthur Kipps is sent to a remote village to prepare Eel Marsh House for sale. A widower, he leaves behind his son with the nanny, they are scheduled to come visit a week later. When Kipps gets to the village the locals try to discourage him from staying, treat him shabbily, warn him to stay away from Eel Marsh House and try to rush him back to London.  Kipps stays on to do his job, but the past of the house begins to interfere with his duties.

Stars Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) as Kipps. The fine actor Ciaran Hinds is Mr Daily, the only local friendly to Kipps.
The film is based on a 1989 TV film of the same name, shown in the UK. Interesting tidbit - the actor that played Harry Potter's dad was in the original version of this film and played the same role Radcliffe plays.

As a recently released ghost story film "The Woman in Black" does quite well. In some respects it reminds me of "Ghost Story", which was a fine modern ghost story film in its day. I was also reminded of "The Others", not so much plot-wise but moreso in that it was also a fine ghost story film in its day. It is refreshing to see interesting ghost story films that don't resort to cheap startle tactics and overproduced CGI to get responses from the viewers.

The opening sequence - only about 3 minutes long or so - was such a great opening scene I was ready to watch the rest of the film. I did a mental "oh yeah! fist pump" because it made me ready to see how the story played out.
The story plays out by dribbling bits of details from here and there, hints from things the townspeople say coupled with things Kipps finds among the house's contents. By the final act of the film you know the history and why things are happening. The story pieces fall together quite nicely. The end of the film is intentionally telegraphed to us viewers, and we're even reminded immediately beforehand in case we missed it. Usually I gripe about telegraphed endings, but it is integral to this story as told so I didn't mind.

I enjoyed it, it was a decent film. Although seeing Radcliffe in a non-Harry Potter role is going to take some getting used to, after a short time I was caught up enough to stop Expecto Patronuming to help young Harry deal with stuff, which I'm sure my wife appreciated. So yes, sometimes I even mock films I like.

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