Saturday, 11 February 2012


UK: James Watkins, 2011

Having been terrorised by the long running and rightly celebrated stage adaptation of Susan Hill's classic ghost story novel 'The Woman In Black', I'd long had my eye on the reborn Hammer film version. The casting of speccy Potter - Daniel Radcliffe - in the lead tempered my enthusiasm somewhat as did the decision to go with a 12A rating. However, Watkins film manages to overcome my irrational prejudices, particularly at the start where good use is made of both faithful and new material to set-up the chills that are sure to follow. Perhaps most successful is the genuine atmosphere of gothic horror that is brought to both the remote English landscape and isolated house setting. Although to say Watkins big screen adaptation brings anything new to the long litany of cinematic ghost stories is over stating things. Unfortunately, the tension is allowed to sag slightly as we build toward a climax that is too reliant on digital effects and predictable jump scares to rival the true terror of its stageound counterpart or even that of its TV Movie brethren. The changes made to the ending also bring nothing extra to Hill's impressive original but all in all THE WOMAN IN BLACK is fine spinetingling fun.
The Count's Verdict: The quality of the source material ensures Hammer will find an audience with this latest entry into the much mined 'ghost story' tradition of horror cinema. This feature film outing of THE WOMAN IN BLACK may not offer anything new but it still manages to deliver in the atmosphere department and will deliver chills for all the family.

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