The Woman in Black (2012)

The Woman in Black
Director: James Watkins
Writer: Jane Goldman
Based on: Susan Hill‘s novel
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds

The young lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) gets the job to take care of the estate of a recently deceased woman in a small town. So he leaves his small son (Misha Handley) at home with his nanny (Jessica Raine) to travel to the middle of nowhere. But when he arrives there, things quickly become very weird. And the estate Arthur has to work in seems to be haunted by a less than benevolent spirit.

There are two things that keep The Woman in Black from being a really good movie: 1, Daniel Radcliffe’s inability to act and 2, the ending that had me rolling my eyes so hard. But it’s an otherwise wonderfully moody movie with some good scares.

I don’t want to be unfair: there has been a lot of development and improvement in Daniel Radcliffe’s acting since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. But going from zero acting skills to a little acting skills does not make for a great thespian. And hinging an entire movie on his performance is not something you should do. Especially when there’s hardly anybody else in the film: it’s Daniel Radcliffe about 80% of the time. [Also, apart from the non-acting, I had trouble accepting him as a father of a four year old. I don’t think that he looks old enough to produce any sperm, let alone have kids which is my own hang-up, I know, but it’s disturbing anyway.]

And whatever Daniel Radcliffe lacks, Ciarán Hinds has it in spades. Unfortunately his entire screen time is about 10 minutes and that is just not enough.

It is to the movie’s credit that it does work despite the weak lead. It was creepy and had a great (scary) atmosphere, a good soundtrack that already gives you goosebumps on its own and a couple of moments that made me phyiscally jerk they’re that scary.

In fact, it all goes just fine until they hit that ending that is illogical, yet predictable and definitely completely over the top. And then it drowns in kitsch. The movie would have deserved better.

Summarising: it’s okay, though it could have been more.

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