Friday, December 19, 2014

The Woman in Black (2012) Review:

Ever since his introduction as Harry Potter from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), Daniel Radcliffe will forever be remembered as the child actor who grew up to play Potter all the way to adulthood. Since the finale to the franchise, Radcliffe has been working at his very best to lose that image. With that, he officially displayed this to the public with the release of this ghost story. Although it is not a far departure from the genre Radcliffe originally started with, it shows that he started gradually. The Harry Potter series was not horror related but it did have spiritual entities from time to time. This story is along those lines too but with a much darker intent.

Ciarán Hinds as Sam Daily
Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps, a widower of one son looking to keep his job at a tough law firm. When given one more chance to maintain his position at the firm, his task is to finalize the latest condemned house in a marsh. Turns out this particular house has a secret only the townsfolk seem to know about and do not like talking about it. For Mr. Kipps, it'll be an eye-opening experience he did not see coming his way. The only person kind enough to help Kipps is Sam Daily (Ciarán Hinds), one of the wealthy men of the area who provides what feels to be a foil to Kipps'. Kipps believes that spirits possibly exist, while Sam doesn't. Yet, even with their opposite views, they are both likeable characters. This is where the writing succeeds in developing its protagonists thanks to Jane Goldman, who also wrote Kick-Ass (2010) and X-Men: First Class (2011).

Plus, James Watkins' direction lets the characters explore other avenues of solving certain issues differently than normal. Also there's the chilling background about the house in the marsh. Its story is tragic and unsettling. And how about that set design and camera work? Both go hand in hand. Tim Maurice-Jones' cinematography looks authentic with its backdrops and every picture has a very gray look, which not only matches the time period of this story but also sets the tone. Every color looks drained and almost to the point of ill. Kave Quinn's set design for the house is just too good. The entire house is that of what would look like if you returned to a house after two or more decades. Dusty, full of cobwebs, rickety floorboards and strange sounds. I get goosebumps just writing about it.

Marco Beltrami's score to the movie was also well thought through. Arthur Kipps had his own reoccurring theme and there was barely a track in the album that contained stings - which is nice for once. Frequently this is all the horror composers make in their scores and it gets not only repetitive but also tiresome. Beltrami comes up with some very creepy tunes. The only issues that arise in this movie are a few things. For one, pacing is a bit slow. This doesn't affect the overall flow but there are certain scenes that just feel like they drag sporadically. There's also continuity errors with which belongs to events that happened at a certain time. Specifically talking about how fast a body decays; the process of decay is slow but under certain conditions I'm sure the rate changes, this movie, it didn't seem to acknowledge that. Not too big of a deal, but it could make viewers curious,...briefly.

That house ......0_0
When it came to the horror elements to the film, there wasn't much at all specifically because of its PG-13 rating. But even for it's rating, it did have some very dark moments that were intense. The Woman in Black is not any better than Mary Shaw from James Wan's Dead Silence (2007). Nooo. However, along with that came the most cliche of horror movie tropes - jump scares. There are several moments where these particular jumps happen. Some work, while others don't. As mentioned before though, composer Marco Beltrami didn't include the stings in his album and that's appreciated. For horror movies, directors have to come up with some type of way to be either more creative with their jump scares or not use them at all. They are really becoming overused. As an overall experience though, it is a well made horror film that should be scene for any fan of the genre.

As one of the first movies Daniel Radcliffe doesn't play Harry Potter, he nails his part in this chilling ghost story. It has well-rounded writing, good music and even decent horror elements for a PG-13 movie.

Points Earned --> 7:10

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