The Woman in Black
Tagline: What did they see?
This week’s lead review on Friday Flicks is brought to you by the letter H. The reason? Daniel Radcliffe gets his post-Harry (there’s the first one) Potter career going as the former Hogwarts (check) favorite teams up with the revamped Hammer (last one, promise) studio in this adaptation of Susan Hill’s ghost story. It’s actually been knocking ’em dead, if you will, in London’s theater district for ages, but Radcliffe provides undoubted star power to this big-screen version.
He plays the Victorian lawyer Arthur Kipps (which is a JK Rowling character name if ever we saw one), who is still in mourning over the death of his wife. But he must leave his young son behind in London, to head north to sort out the affairs of the late Mrs. Drablow, supposedly the sole resident of Eel Marsh House. Before he knows it, the supernatural begins to play its spooky part, resulting in jolts and jumps aplenty.
There’s definite good will from the critics. “Fittingly for the first film shot in England in 35 years to bear the Hammer banner, The Woman in Black competently resurrects that hoariest of horror-movie conceits, the haunted house,” writes Variety. “This unashamedly old-fashioned ghost story benefits from Radcliffe’s committed performance and Watkins’ willingness to do anything for a scare,” notes Total Film. And “This Victorian period horror tale is refreshing in that it makes no bones about what it is about – delivering gothic horror thrills pure and simple,” says Screen Daily. So long as Radcliffe can keep the post-Potter quality control up, his future looks bright.