Business rating: 1 / 5 stars (One star)
Star cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Janet McTeer.
What’s Good: The initial few reels where the viewer enjoys the suspense and intrigue; Daniel Radcliffe’s restrained performance.
What’s Bad: The ordinary script which falls flat on its face in the climax; the absence of many chilling moments in the horror drama.
Verdict: The Woman In Black is old wine in an old bottle. It will fail to do much at the Indian box-office.
Loo break: A couple.
Watch or Not?: Watch it if you are a fan of old-fashioned horror films.
Hammer, Alliance Films, UK Film Council and PVR Pictures’ The Woman In Black is a horror thriller. Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a widowed lawyer, leaves his son in London and travels to a remote village in England to settle the legal affairs of a recently deceased lady. Upon his arrival in the village, it soon becomes clear to Kipps that people in the town do not want him there.
But as he has to complete his assignment at any cost to save his job, Kipps spends his time doing paperwork at a secluded and abandoned mansion belonging to his client. However, when he starts hearing spooky noises and seeing strange things in the house, he realises that something is amiss.
Next, a young girl, who has inadvertently consumed poison, dies in his arms while he is visiting the village constable’s office to complain about the strange noises in the mansion. Kipps is blamed for the girl’s death, and the angry villagers ask him to leave immediately. But he stays on to complete the job at hand, aided and protected by the richest villager, Mr. Daily (Ciaran Hinds), whom Kipps had befriended earlier.
At Daily’s home, Kipps learns that children of the village have been dying for many years in mysterious circumstances and the villagers blame a ghost of a woman from the mansion for these deaths. Shaken to the core, but choosing not to believe in such superstitious banter, Kipps goes back to work at the mansion. What happens then? Does Kipps come face-to-face with the ghost – the lady in black? Is he able to get to the root of the problem? What about his young son, who is going to join him at the village the following day? The rest of the drama answers these questions.
The Woman In Black Review: Script Analysis
Jane Goldman’s screenplay, based on Susan Hill’s novel, is intriguing in the first half when Kipps arrives to a cold reception in the village. The sequences, in which Kipps is alone in the mansion as spooky things keep happening one after the other, are quite engaging. However, apart from this, there is little else to keep the audience’s interest alive in the film. Once the mystery behind the sounds in the mansion is revealed, the drama becomes repetitive and boring. The latter half, where Kipps takes it upon himself to remedy the problem at hand, is rather unbelievable and even unintentionally funny. The climax is disappointing.
The Woman In Black Review: Star Performances
Daniel Radcliffe underplays beautifully. His performance is one of the highlights of the film. Ciaran Hinds is very good as Mr. Daily. Janet McTeer, as the wife of Mr. Daily, does well. The rest of the cast offers good support.
The Woman In Black Review: Direction & Technical Aspects
James Watkins’ direction is fair, considering that he is able to hold the audience’s attention in the initial part. Marco Beltrami’s background score goes with the mood of the film. Tim Maurice-Jones’ cinematography is dark, brooding and, therefore, very effective. Kave Quinn’s production design is excellent. Editing, by Jon Harris, is sharp.
The Woman In Black Review: The Last Word
On the whole, The Woman In Black is, at best, an average thriller. It will not do much at the Indian box-office in spite of Daniel Radcliffe being a well-known face in India.