‘The Woman In Black‘, directed by James Watkins and starring Daniel Radcliffe is the latest adaptation of Susan Hill’s horror novel of the same name.
A traditional ghost story in every sense, it commences with wet-behind-the-ears lawyer Kipps (Radcliffe) being sent to sort out the affairs of a recently-deceased landowner. All of this is complicated by the fact that this is the last opportunity that he has to prove himself to his employer and he is also torn by having to leave his young son (whose mother died some years before) at home.
You could be forgiven for thinking that this film had come straight off the Hammer Films production line of the 1970s, as it’s an unashamed ghost train ride that has all the right ingredients. The throng of suspicious villagers are the oddest group of characters you could imagine (occasionally contrasted with the reassuring presence of new friend Daley, a warm-hearted and level-headed local grandee played by Ciaran Hinds) and the scenes are set in the bleakest and eeriest of surroundings. In fact both interior and exterior shots are so robbed of colour I’m surprised that the production team didn’t take the next logical step and actually film in black and white – I think it would have been a benefit, and would have reinforced the fact that ‘The Woman In Black’ is a deliberate homage to earlier ideas about what scares and delights an audience.
So, if you’re up for leaping out of your seat every five minutes and stifling a few shouts and screams along the way then this is definitely one for you, and who can deny that there’s a real thrill in being in a packed auditorium where everyone else is reacting in exactly the same way! Highly recommended.