Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps in one of the scenes from the film | Photo Courtesy of Alliance Films

The Woman in Black – Movie Review

Daniel Radcliffe; a name that really needs no introduction. He came to light as an artist when he stepped into the shoes of the spectacle-wearing, curious & mischievous Harry Potter. Eight films and 10 years of filming later, we are introduced to an all-grown-up Daniel. With a long career ahead of him, Daniel has ventured off to try new projects, dabbling in different genre’s and different art mediums. His latest project, The Woman In Black, is his first attempt at Horror.

The Woman In Black is a new horror film based on the novel by the same name written by Susan Hill. Directed by Eden Lake director James Watkins and the writer of X-Men: First Class & Kick-Ass, Jane Goldman, The Woman In Black is a supernatural thriller that revolves around a widowed lawyer by the name of Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe). Struggling to manage work & take care of his sickly son due to the loss of his wife, Kipps is sent to a remote village to complete some legal work of a recently deceased woman. On his arrival he is suspicious that the town is hiding something from him. His curiosity in the matter reveals that the home of his deceased client is haunted by a woman, who has terrorized the town for years. Kipps, determined to find the cure to the problem, is faced with supernatural events that pose a danger to his own life and those around him.

Most horror films focus primarily on one thing: elements the scare the pants off you. As a result, they lack key elements such as a strong story or character definition that would make the film more sophisticated. The Woman In Black brings a new, refreshing take to the horror genre. Jane Goldman has written a story that is very simple but powerful. The key focus is on the relationships of the characters and how these relationships are vital in the succession of the story. This simple-to-follow story is given a mixture of horror elements inspired by many films including, as Daniel said himself, Spanish films. You of course get to see the obvious “Hammer Films” horror touches throughout the film. There are moments where a little patience is needed but overall, nothing is over done. When a scene is meant to be frightening, its properly frightening. When there is a moment where you want to understand the character better, that pause is provided. What this film does is balance all the relevant elements very nicely to give you a well-rounded horror experience.

The most positive thing about this film is the acting itself. Daniel Radcliffe goes above and beyond his style of acting we are familiar with, especially with the Harry Potter roles. Thinking deep & showing emotion is something we have seen over Radcliffe’s Potter career but in The Woman In Black, Radcliffe realistically portrays a deep character who possess maturity, yet is lost in his grief. Before and during the production of the film, Radcliffe went to professionals & friends to understand the physical and mental symptoms of depression & sadness, and his proactive attitude towards his character can clearly be seen on screen. Even during long scenes with no dialogue, facial expression & body posture enhances the feel one receives when watching the movie. You are not for one second questioning his performance. It is absolutely spot on. His co-stars, particularly Ciarán Hinds and Janet McTeer, give very realistic performances. Hinds & McTeer who portray Mr. & Mrs. Daily respectively, provide performances that really add value to the movie experience. Chemistry between co-actors is very important and this film showcases very strong on-screen chemistry.

Horror has never really been my cup of tea. However, with the brilliant performances by the cast and the truly riveting story, The Woman In Black has won me over. This film brings together the simplicity of a good fright and the complexity of a good story making it an absolutely brilliant film to watch.

CLICK HERE for the “Black Carpet” coverage from the Toronto Premiere of the movie, with Daniel Radcliffe in attendance!

The Woman In Black is co-produced by Alliance Films & Hammer Film Productions. The film releases in Canada on February 3rd 2012 at theaters everywhere. For more on the film, visit www.womaninblack.com