Tag Archives: Susan Hill

The Woman in Black (2012)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Woman in Black</strong> (2012)

(On Cable TV, November 2012) There’s something deliciously old-fashioned in this gothic throwback to an era where horror films were about chills rather than gore.  Here, Daniel Radcliffe isn’t too bad in his first major post-Harry Potter film role as a young solicitor asked to settle the affairs of a deceased aristocrat.  The tiny community in which he arrives is hostile to his presence for reasons he understands only after spending some time in a vast and spooky house cut off by the high tide.  While much of the film is fairly standard supernatural horror, it’s handled with an unusual amount of grace, letting the slow pacing and the carefully creepy visuals take precedence over exposed blood and guts.  There are a few visual gems–the sequence with a gunk-covered carriage solely identifiable in reflected light is remarkably effective and the lengthy overnight exploration of a gothic mansion positively drips with atmosphere.  Though suitably different from Susan Hill’s original novel, the adaptation is skillful in condensing events in an even tighter time-frame.  There are a few narrative ironies here and there (one of the best being that the protagonist’s early ally, played with gravitas by Ciaran Hinds, is the one that’s mistaken about the nature of the events taking place whereas all of his opponents are basically right) to enliven what is basically yet another ghost story, but The Woman in Black is well-made enough to deserve a favourable mention, especially or those looking for a more unnerving and less gory kind of horror film.