Monday, February 6, 2012

The Woman in Black (2012)

I don't know about you, but I love a good creepy, gothic movie.  There just aren't enough of them.  (There aren't enough gothic novels either in my opinion.)  Big old moldy vine-laden mansion?  Ghosts of children and a crazy woman? Sinister, wind-up toys and dolls?  Sign me up.


Unfortunately, I regret to inform you that I have not read this book.  Susan Hill is famous for her spooktastic novels, where she is willing to throw anyone and everyone under the bus.  I've got her on my list of authors I need to pursue.  But my kids and I couldn't wait on my slow rear end to get around to it.  
  
In a nutshell, without too much spoilage, here is what we have.  Edwardian England, young widowed lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliff) with a young son (Daniel's Godson IRL) is forced out of his four year grief-laden funk to investigate the last will and testament of Alice Drablow.  Drablow survived her husband, her son Nathaniel (who drowned in the marshes at a young age) and her sister Jennet, who hanged herself, only to become a recluse in a big old moldy mansion perched on an island that is inaccessible at high tide.  


When Kipps arrives in Drablow's village, the inhabitants are less than welcoming, and all seem shell-shocked.  Kipps soon witnesses a gruesome death of one of the local children, and learns many others have had the same fate.  Through his investigation of Drablow's old documents, he also begins to learn about the circumstances around which young Nathaniel had died and the menacing presence of her sister Jennet's ghost.  
  
When it comes to the alluring atmosphere of a gothic tale, this film has got it all.  I was particularly taken by the abandoned mansion, and the barren winding road that leads to it through a marshy muck, which is all underwater at high tide.  The island is overgrown, foggy, and speckled with gravestones.  


As I said before, Hill knows no sacred cows, and therein lies the beauty of the plot.  No one is safe, and things may just not work out like you might imagine.  I love that in a film or a book.  


There are also plenty of horrifying visuals.  At the beginning of the movie, we see three little girls having a tea party in their attic nursery.  In unison, they all turn to the window, stand up, walk to the window in a trance and jump to their deaths.  There are images of a child clawing his way out of the muck from his tomb.  Of someone hanged.  Of someone burning alive.  The movie is PG-13, so there is relatively little gore per se, no sexual content, but heavy on these graphic images and intensity.  (Personally, I was more disturbed by the deranged wind-up toys than anything.  You know, the kind that come to life at night and try to eat your face.)


  
On the downside, the movie is chock-full of cheap scares.  Things jump out at you every 2.3 minutes.  And I don't think it was really necessary, given the subject matter.  There was plenty there already to give you the chills.  And while I find Daniel Radcliff pleasing to the eye, I can't say he impressed me with his acting here.  His performance was wooden at best.


While this one won't win any awards, if you enjoy getting the chills and gothic creepiness is your brain candy, I'd recommend seeing this one.




21 comments:

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I'll probably see this one...the image of the woman in the window behind Radcliffe in the previews gets a squeal out of me almost every time I see it ;)

Beth F said...

I spotlighted this in my Read It Then See It article for SheKnows. I wonder if it would be too scary for me.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I've heard Radcliffe wasn't so good in this, but apparently he has done great on Broadway.

bermudaonion said...

I'm not crazy about those cheap scares so I'll probably skip this one.

Meg said...

As I'm one of the most skittish people in the history of the world, I've stayed far away from even the trailers of this one -- but I'm glad to see that, for the most part, you enjoyed it! Even the descriptions you shared creep me out. Eek!

Cozy in Texas said...

I don't think I could watch or read anything that has children dying in it. I'm glad you warned me.
Ann

Zibilee said...

I have seen this trailer several times, and have been so curious about this movie. It looks really spooky, and like you, I do love me some Gothic tales. I think I am going to ask my husband if he wants to see this one with me. It looks interesting, and I can't get my mind off of some of those visuals from the trailer. Great review today!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I saw it too and oh my gosh it scared me. I have read the book (loved it), but even though I knew what I was getting in to, I jumped constantly. I will say I scare easily, but still, super creepy. I will say Daniel wasn't the best. I wonder if he's still trying to find his post-HP acting style.

Jenners said...

Based on your description, this would probably scare me to death. I'm a big baby when it comes to scary movies -- and things popping out -- and scary wind-up toys.

You're so right about Susan Hill though. She will kill off anyone. When I read my first book by her, I was SHOCKED at the ending and her willingness to kill off someone I thought was safe. I kind of like that though.

Kathleen said...

Scary Goodness! This sounds like a good one!!!

Brooke said...

I do want to see this one, but feel sad that Radcliffe's performance was sub-par. I want my Harry Potter kids to do well always! My love of all things gothic will win out eventually.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

You are a brave woman to go to this movie! My sister wanted me to go with her but there is no way. I think it would keep me up for weeks! The commercials look good so it makes me sad that these types of movies bother me so.

Carrie K. said...

Bummer that Radcliffe wasn't better - I was really hoping this would launch his post-HP career.

Melody said...

I've to watch this movie after reading the book (loved it)!!! Plus, it's good to see Daniel Radcliffe again after those HP instalments.

heidenkind said...

I'm a little worried about the scary factor in this movie, but I'll probably end up seeing it anyway. :)

Trisha said...

Little girls are terrifying, so that alone makes me want to watch this one. :)

Julie P. said...

Too creepy for me....

JoAnn said...

This was without a doubt one of the creepiest (in a good way) books I've ever read. I'm such a wimp when it comes to scary movies though...

Stephanie said...

Yikes! I planned to see this movie after finishing the book (which was good, but not as scary as I thought it would be) but after reading your review I'm afraid the movie might be too scary for me!

Ellen said...

I'm curious to see what Radcliffe looks like in a role outside of Potter. Though I have to admit that your review makes me wonder if I should try to enlist someone to watch this with me. I have a sad tradition of watching horror movies, then not sleeping for the next week; and while I'd be okay with the cheap scares you mention, the mood of this film might get to me. Plus, the photos you posted have already got me creeped out.

meteor dreams said...

went to see this with the school, it was actually very tense and scary, (would have been more scary if people weren't talking) but yeah it worth a 15 more than 13.