February 10, 2012
By J.D. Cook
Last year I caught word of The Woman in Black. It was dubbed as Daniel Radcliffe’s first real post-Potter role. I was extremely excited by the previews of it at first. It harkened back to the earlier days of the Gothic Horror tale with its preview of Radcliffe traversing a marsh locked house near the turn of the 20th century. My hopes were set high early, so I guess it only makes sense that they would be let down later.
WARNING: Spoilers Below!
The film opens with an extremely young Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) dealing with the death of his wife Stella (Sophie Stuckey) and the raising of his son (wait, son?) Radcliffe just got out of Harry Potter robes and you want me to believe he has a son – and not a newborn son? Well let’s just say it looks awkward when the two are on screen together. I just couldn’t buy him as a father of 1-3 year old.
That said, he was only a father for a very short time in the film so it was tolerable. From here Kipps is sent to help finish off the paperwork at an old house in a small English town. The house is my favorite part of the film as it is built on an island that is only accessible during low tide as water surrounds it during high tide.
The town that Kipps rolls into is haunted by the mysterious “Woman in Black” who causes the deaths of children via suicide and he disturbs her by visiting the aforementioned marsh House. In the best sequence of the film, Kipps is led on a literal ghost chase around the house chasing spooky sounds and seeing spooky things.
Beyond that, just about everything was cliché in this film. Kipps’s plan is to put the spirit at peace by reuniting the corpse of the Woman in Black with the corpse of her lost child, which doesn’t work because obviously a spirit that has literally killed a handful of children is not misunderstood but quite clearly malevolent and evil. A more fitting defeat of the Ghost would have occurred if Kipps had set fire to the marsh house and left the island deserted. Along with that the townspeople who ‘hid the secret of the woman in black’ were boring and overdone.
Now the biggest problem with this film is the ending. It’s terrible! Kipps, thinking he’s appeased the evil spirit, meets up with his son at a train station where he then proceeds to not pay attention to him long enough for him to wander out of his grip and onto the near by train tracks. The man literally spent the movie fighting a spirit that killed children and he had no way of knowing if his plot to reunite the corpses of the mother and daughter would work so why would he let his kid go for a jaunt at the train station?
Kipps and his son then die and meet his wife who appears as a woman in white; while the woman in black is left in darkness. So nothing is resolved and the entire plot was essentially irrelevant. Way to just erase an hour and a half of my life!
Don’t Go See This Film.