Movie Review of “The Woman in Black”

My wife and I recently joined the 21st century by purchasing a flat-screen TV to replace the television we have had for more than a dozen years. Anxious to try out our new toy, we ended up watching the movie “The Woman in Black.”

This movie is actually the reason we wound up purchasing a new TV. We attempted to watch this on our old television a few days earlier and it was so dark, we couldn’t see what was going on. Since we had some tax return money leftover anyway, we decided it was time to upgrade. And, as it turns out, this movie was worth it.

One thing that really impressed me about this movie, which stars Daniel Radcliffe as an early-20th-century lawyer who travels to a cursed village in England so his law firm can sell a manor with a troubled history, is just how creepy it turned out to be. I’ve seen plenty of other “thrillers” that failed to live up to expectations and, mostly because of the PG-13 rating; I wasn’t really expecting much from this one. However, there were times when it had me on the edge of my seat.

Part of the reason for this was the fact the violence happens almost exclusively to children. A lot of other movies shy away from that. That wasn’t the case with this one and, starting from the opening scene (involving three young girls committing suicide); I couldn’t help but think of my own kids when watching this. You should never underestimate the effect of parental instincts when it comes to movies like this.

Another thing I liked about this movie was the mystery. The film doesn’t tell you why the kids are dying or why the local citizens don’t want strangers poking around the manor until close to the end and, as a result, it does let your imagination take over a bit, something that is always going to make a movie scarier (especially when he’s in that room full of toys).

My only real complaint about this film is Radcliffe himself. This was an opportunity to break away from his famous Harry Potter character but I think he fell short. Part of the problem, I think, is he was just too young to play this role. Had he just been an attorney, I probably could have lived with it. But, the fact he was a dad too just didn’t work for me.

It also doesn’t help that Radcliffe’s character just lacked any emotion throughout the film. I don’t know if that was by design or if Radcliffe phoned it in, but it didn’t do anything to convince me he is ready for a role that takes place outside of Hogwart’s.

Despite that, I did feel this movie was worth watching. It might have been better with a lead actor who was a bit older. But, even with Radcliffe as the star, I found I enjoyed it.

My Grade: B