The Woman in Black

The Deadly Ghost


03 February 2012| No Comments on The Woman in Black     by Sean Chavel


Skillful directing and evocative cinematography, but to no avail. The Woman in Black is a sumptuous Victorian-style production of a “Boo” picture, where every four minutes a ghost or a crow or a deceased prune-faced child pops out at you. What the movie doesn’t have is any substance. Daniel Radcliffe, that valedictorian of the “Harry Potter” movies, plays a young lawyer who travels to a mysterious village where the “dead” things pop out at you. He ends up at a haunted house, but I was never quite sure why he didn’t leave. Ciarán Hinds and Janet McTeer make up the supporting cast clout, so esteemed that I doubted they would even entertain the baby-cheeks Radcliffe for a clip.

Radcliffe, as Arthur Kipps, has a deceased first wife but a replacement wife and a child whom are introduced at the beginning and brought in at the end. He takes a long journey by train. The skyview shots of this are wonderful. The village people consist of “Shutter Island” like weirdos. There is usually a fog that envelops everything. The inside of the haunted house is cobwebby, contains spooky dolls, candelabras that light themselves and a rocky chair that never stops rocking.

Director James Watkins (his first feature “Eden Lake” is unseen by me) knows how to frame a shot, but I only hope next time he has a better screenplay to work with. Because this is not in the same league as “The Sixth Sense” (1999) or “The Others” (2001), which it attempts to emulate. I never believed that Radcliffe would be the type to deliberately open the door with the self-rotating knob. Nor did I believe he would go shoulders-down in the black marsh to lift out the dead in the black of night. Radcliffe devotees won’t be disappointed, I suppose, but to me he’s a wooden actor. Only his eyebrows suggest pliability.

96 Minutes. Rated PG-13.


Film Cousins: “The Haunting” (1963); “The Sixth Sense” (1999); “The Others” (2001); “The Orphanage” (2007, Mexico).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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