Otherwise known as Harry Potter and the Haunted House. As I'm sure you're aware this is Daniel Radcliffe's first feature since the Harry Potter finale. I hope he can get out from under the shadow of those films. It would suck to be typecast as Harry Potter for the rest of your life.
The Woman in Black follows Arthur (Radcliffe). Arthur's kind of down on his luck at the start of the film. He's having trouble playing his bills and you find that his wife died in childbirth, leaving him alone to take care of his 4-year-old son, Joseph (who's cute as hell). Even though he's having financial trouble, he seems to have a nanny, so maybe she's working for free, I guess.
To make matters worse, his employer has threatened to terminate him if he doesn't properly handle the estate sale of an old abandoned mansion. He travels to this town to take care of his business. Immediately, it's clear he's not welcome there by the townsfolk.
Almost as soon as he arrives in town, the children of the town start dying and again, it appears the townsfolk blame Arthur for this. They want him to leave, but fearing the loss of his job, he can't. As he spends time in the mansion, he learns more about what happened in there and why people don't want him there. Creepy things happen nearly every second he's there. If he wasn't fearing the loss of his job, you'd have to wonder why he just doesn't get the hell out of there.
The movie does have an eerie vibe and there are some scary moments, but I did feel they relied too much on jump scares and loud noises. There's no gore, it's only PG-13, so if you're into the more creepy type of horror film, then this is likely more your speed.
Scary movies like this always bug me when there's a ghost still haunting the town, but the people in the town didn't have anything to do with her pain. Why not pick on the right people? If they've died, then move on yourself. Ghosts are assholes that really hold on to grudges. Then, someone finally helps the ghost, and what does the ghost go? It still haunts them! It's like, "Bitch I just helped you and I don't even know you! Why are you still haunting me? Piss off!"
Having said that the ending of this may either disappoint you or be a kick in the gut. It's actually the one part of the movie that actually worked for me.
I think Daniel Radcliffe did do a good job here. It probably helps that he wasn't wearing glasses during the film, but after the opening moments, I got over the Harry Potter thing and was able to just look at him as the character he's playing.
The Woman in Black is based off a novel by Susan Hill. The screenplay was written by Jane Goldman, which I'm kind of surprised by because she's done the screenplay for many movies I've really liked (The Debt, Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class), so I would have expected more. Perhaps it rests more on director James Watkins, who has only directed 2008's Eden Lake to his credit. I've seen Eden Lake, but I barely remember it and I'm shocked to see that Michael Fassbender was in it. I guess it didn't do anything for me.
The Woman in Black is an okay movie. I didn't hate it, but I think there was a lot of hype that made me expect more. It certainly better than some of the other horror films that have come out recently. If creepy horror movies are your thing, then I think you'll probably enjoy this, but there's no need to rush out and see this. In fact, I think this is better suited to seeing at home.
2.5 (out of 5) Death Stars