Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dollar Bin Splurge of the Week:The Woman in Black(2012)

By Eric Polk-
Child actors attempting to break out into adult roles have been a mixed bag. For every Kurt Russell, you have a Macaulay Culkin. For every Drew Barrymore, you have a Lindsay Lohan. Now the time has come for Daniel Radcliffe to make his transition from Harry Potter to grown-up. How does he do?

As long as he's picking out great roles, he's got a future. The Woman in Black in my humble estimation is one of the finest supernatural horror films I've seen in years. It almost takes the mantle away from The Changling...almost.

Based on the novel by Susan Hill and directed by James Watkins, young lawyer Arthur Kipps lives with his four-year-old son Joseph and his son's nanny. Kipps' wife Stella  died after childbirth. Arthur has visions of her and is facing financial problems along with stress from his employers. He is assigned to handle the estate of Alice Drablow who owned Eel Marsh, where she had lived with her husband, son Nathaniel, and sister, Jennet Humfrye. Kipps gets a room in the town and makes friends with Sam Daily, a wealthy landowner who offers Arthur a place to have dinner with him and his wife.

At the Marsh, Kipps starts working on the paperwork, but he repeatedly hears footsteps and sees a woman dressed in black. Kipps reports the sighting at the local police station. While there, two boys bring in their sister who has drunk lye and she dies in Arthur's arms. She is not the first child in town to commit suicide, and the townspeople believe the "Woman in Black" comes for their children as revenge for her child being taken from her.
After returning to the Marsh, Kipps discovers that Nathaniel drowned during a carriage accident, and Alice's sister Jennet hanged herself. Kipps also discovers notes claiming that Jennet was mentally unstable and was not allowed to care for Nathaniel, who was actually her son, though this fact was hidden by Alice, who raised him as her own.
The townspeople want Kipps to leave but he refuses, wanting to protect his job. Sam Daily tells Arthur about the tragic suicides and says that his only son drowned. Mrs. Daily says her son communicates through her by possession and she draws a hanging woman who Kipps realizes is Jennet.

Later on, Kipps goes back to the Marsh, and Sam lends him his dog as company. Throughout the night, he has many paranormal experiences with the Woman in Black and all the children that committed suicide. The next morning, Sam and Arthur return to town to see a house on fire, and

Arthur rushes inside to rescue a young girl locked in the basement. While trying to rescue the girl,
Kipps sees the Woman in Black manipulate the girl into setting herself on fire.
Kipps visits Mrs. Daily again, who, in a trance, reveals that Kipps' son, Joseph, is the next victim. Kipps realizes he must put Nathaniel to rest by giving him a proper burial. Kipps and Sam go to the Marsh, locate Nathaniel's body and give him a viewing for the Woman, who attacks Kipps and leaves. They finally lay Nathaniel to rest by burying him with his real mother, Jennet. After they leave, the Woman in Black repeats a line from her letter to her sister, "I will never forgive".

Without a doubt, the movie has that dark, grainy quality you see in supernatural films. There are jump scares aplenty in this one as evidenced by the amount of times my wife freaked out,lol. There is a ten minute sequence in this film that really made me want to stand up in the theatre and say, "That's how you do it!!!!" The antagonist, while not extremely freaky, does her job effectively, hiding in the shadows, driving Daniel Radcliffe nuts. Not one time in this film did I throw a Harry Potter barb at the screen, it was that good.

Sadly though, this movie cannot be inducted into my Horror HOF because of the very last scene that threw grape juice on the celluloid cashmere sweater, but for a current horror film, The Woman in Black scores the hat trick!!!!

1 comment:

Mr. Gable said...

I'm the opposite on this one. I thought it delivered poorly. I thought Radcliff's reaction to the supernatural elements were just so unbelievable. Rocking chair rocking on its own? No big deal. And there were just too many scenes with him walking around aimlessly. Standard by the books ghost story.

It did look good though. And I did like the idea of the house in the marsh but there was just a huge gaping hole of backstory and the ghost was just pointless.