Wednesday, May 30, 2012

DVD Review: The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black is one of the hardest kind of horror flicks to get right. Ghost stories, while great for basic scares and jumps, tend to be kinda losers when it comes to plot and acting. Hell, scratch that. Jump scare movies in general, tend to fail on both those levels (best example in a movie that's actually pretty good: Drag Me to Hell. Seriously, the plot and characters in that movie are pretty much non-existent). And while The Woman in Black is not without it's hiccups, it's well made and highly successful at it's primary mission. And it's primary mission is to SCARE THE SHIT OUT OF YOU!

The story is devoted to Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a young solicitor who is sent to a mysterious house in the middle of nowhere (literally: The house is surrounded by what looks like miles of marshland on each side, with a single narrow road allowing access when the tide is out). When he gets there, he finds something is amiss: All the people in the town don't seem to want him there and are extremely protective of their children. And when he arrives at the house he's seeing things, objects are moving unbidden and he's sure he's not alone.

Okay so it sounds sorta cliche, but it's a haunted house story, which aren't known for narrative backflips. But it's extremely well made, and has above average acting and script for it's genre. The house in particular is one of the best settings I've seen for a movie like this, fantastically disquieting and creepy before shit even begins to go to hell. The jump scares are extremely well put together. Okay so jump scares are the film equivalent of a dude jumping out of the bushes and yelling BOO, but it's harder than it looks to put together and this one does an admirable job. I can't tell you about any of them, for obvious reasons, but trust me, you'll be jumping out of your seat enough times to make this worth it. Add in a pretty good script and fantastically devoted performance from Daniel Radcliffe, who really manages to sell his character and feel like he's from the age the movie is set in (even while he appears a bit too young to have a son) and you have a movie that's well above what passes for average in it's genre.

There are some minor nitpicks I could make, most of them involving the words 'horror dumb' (IE where a horror protagonist is forced to act like an idiot to advance the plot) and for the record, no it's not as good as The Cabin in the Woods, but those are minor issues compared to what this movie does right. If you're in the mood for a good scare, this one should more than do it for you. Highly recommended.

Elessar is a 22 year old Alaskan born cinephile and he'd like to beg this movie to STOP SHOWING US THAT FUCKING TOY CLOWN!

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