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Film Review: The Woman in Black

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For years, The Woman In Black has been terrorising theatre-goers at London’s West End. Now, the rest of the world will have a chance to experience the horrors of The Woman In Black for themselves as the film version, starring our favourite boy wizard, Daniel Radcliffe, hits cinemas next Friday.

Based on Susan Hill’s novel, The Woman In Black tells the tale of a young solicitor, Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), leaving his young son in London as he set off for the far-flung village of Crythin Gifford to sort out paperwork for the recently deceased Alice Drablow.

The Woman in Black The film is set in the early 20th century and it doesn't take long for Kipps to discover a sinister secret after spending some time at Drablow’s godforsaken Eel Marsh estate sifting through paperwork. As the title might suggest, the village is haunted by a vengeful woman ghost; in black no less. His appearance brought about a series of unfortunate events resulting in all the villagers wanting him gone, except for Sam Daily (Ciarán Hinds) and his wife (Janet McTeer).

While this 95-minute James Watkins (Eden Lake) film isn’t exactly ground-breaking, it does fit the bill for a satisfying horror film. The tormented screams, eerie looking dolls and wind-up toys, colourless faces in the window and not forgetting, the woman in black herself, are all ingredients to a perfect horror film.

Watkins might have grappled a little at the old-school clichés however, the effects accompanied with Radcliffe’s efforts and Watkins’ dedication to stop at nothing for a scare made this a notch up from the horror films that rely so heavily on the sound effects to make the audience jump in their seat.

Radcliffe plays a widower and a man struggling to keep his job. Gone is the childlike innocence that we have grown so accustomed to in the eight instalments of the Harry Potter series. Leaving behind the Hogwarts wizardry, Radcliffe delivers an impressive performance as a convincingly grown up and suitably distressed young man. Radcliffe is the heart of the film, with the spotlight on him in almost every scene and he certainly did not fail to deliver.

While I have never been a fan of Western horror films, this film had me peeping through half an eye before we were even midway through the film. It was nice that screenwriter Jane Goldman (Kick Ass) added the occasional humour the help move the plot along.

For all fans of horror films, this haunting film surely doesn’t disappoint and is definitely worth a watch. Let’s just say after watching this film, you’ll never look at a rocking chair the same way again.

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