A few years before the movie came out I saw the stage play… I didn’t sleep for two nights running. Before seeing the movie I read the book to prepare myself again, and that was scary in the way that it was really chilling and made you feel uneasy. So my expectations for the movie were pretty high, and mostly it didn’t disappoint!
The film was produced by Hammer, who are renowned for making the really scary movies, and were using this for their big comeback. I think my major criticism of this film is that it is rated 12A. I’m sorry but I don’t think that is suitable age! Put it this way: I’m 16 and there were still bits in the film in which I shut my eyes and turned away but still got scared shitless! It should be AT LEAST a 15. For example *SPOILERS!!* There is a scene near the end where we finally see the woman up close. HOLY SHIT! For me that is the scariest part of the film, and I could just about see it through my violently shaking hands. Bear in mind though that this is the first properly scary movie I’ve seen.*END SPOILERS*
I was a little disappointed with the ending, whilst it wasn’t too bad it was a bit predictable. It’s different from the ending of the book and the play and I think it’s changed for the worse.
Acting-wise, I thought Radcliffe did an okay job. He definitely had his moments of glory (mainly comprising of scenes in which he looks afraid), but in other bits he seemed to lack any emotion to the situation of the scene. I think that this is because he jumped straight into The Woman in Black almost immediately after finishing the Harry Potter series, and therefore wasn’t as suited to the role of Arthur Kipps, not only because it meant that he’d be playing someone older than himself, but because he has to play a father figure and I think you will agree that doing so requires a different kind of experience than fighting the dark lord. I’m not saying that he has to have had children of his own but he could have shown more parental emotion, whereas his acting towards his son in the film (Joseph Kipps) seemed rather blank and monotonous.
However Radcliffe’s performance is greatly overwhelmed by the title character herself: the Woman in Black. She steals the show and she doesn’t have any dialogue at all apart from perhaps: “scream”. From the first moment she appears on-screen, the audience immediately have a general idea of what they’re dealing with, but I don’t think anything could prepare them for any her scenes (especially near the end!)
Overall the film really did live up to my expectations, for the most part anyway. Although I would suggest that if you are thinking of seeing it, BE PREPARED!