Monday, 3 September 2012
Blu Ray Review - The Woman In Black
Based on the Susan Hill book and the terror-inducing stage production, The Woman In Black was always set to be an interesting affair in its conversion to film and, with familiar British face Daniel Radcliffe in leading man duties, as well as the legendary Hammer production company taking the reigns, the early signs were positive. Plenty of hype surrounded the film upon its arrival in cinemas and upon calls of Hammer returning to their roots I finally had to get a taste of the action via the blu ray.
Set in the Edwardian era in Britain, Arthur Kipps, a lawyer down on his luck and almost broke, is tasked with heading to the isolated Eel Marsh House for a job that may well just save his career. His job a simple one as it seems; head into the empty secluded house and retrieve all paperwork regarding the house in order to proceed with selling the property.
As with many instances in the horror field, things aren't quite what they seem and Kipps soon finds out that the house has a dark past, the mother who lived there having passed away and her son apparently drowned in the marshland. Couple this with a mysterious woman appearing in black attire all around the premises and Arthur suddenly finds himself in somewhat of a haunted nightmare. With the help of local Samuel Daily (Ciarán Hinds), Kipps must retrieve the paperwork as well as solve the secrets of the house before he falls victim to the woman in black.
The Hammer Films history tracks back decades and in films such as The Quatermass And The Pit and The Devil Rides Out, amongst many others, produced such atmospheric and truly chilling encounters. Whilst those days are far behind us it appears that there may be somewhat of a resurgence heading our way, spearheaded by The Woman In Black.
A real treat for horror fanatics worldwide, the film is a staggering lesson in the build up of not just a gripping ghost story but also a presentation in thrusting the audience into edge-of-your-seat territory. Such is the atmospheric feeling of The Woman In Black that the audience are in constant fear of a jump moment or some horrific event lying just around the corner that it really brings back the golden age for the genre. Whether it be creaking doors, whispers around the house or short sharp glimpses of the woman herself, it maintains a creepy and unnerving feel throughout.
In Daniel Radcliffe the task of brushing off his Harry Potter alter-ego was as tough as any but in truth he has garnered that maturity so present as the famed series continued and applied it to this outing. Utterly believable as both a concerned father and troubled working class man, Radcliffe portrays Kipps succinctly and breezes through proceedings whilst well backed by the fantastic Ciarán Hinds.
Despite some familiar scare moments and a rather predictable conclusion, The Woman In Black works like a well oiled machine of horror in providing a remarkably eerie and scary ghost tale. Steering away from unnecessary abundant gore in favour of a compelling classic tale, the film returns to the classic roots of the genre and proves that sometimes the old school way of frightening viewers is the best.
Film rating: 4 out of 5 F's