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By James Whittington, Thursday 28th June 2012
The Woman In Black
Momentum Pictures Home Entertainment
Extras: Making Of, Interviews with Daniel Radcliff, James Watkins and Jane Goldman, Red Carpet Special, Ghost Story Competition, Trailers and Galleries.
"Don't go chasing shadows, Arthur"
The Woman In Black is without a doubt the British cinematic success story of the year and one which shouts proudly the long awaited resurrection of gothic style Hammer horror. With box office takings topping an incredible £21 million it has rightly become the most successful British horror film of all time.
The movie tells the tale of Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a lawyer who is forced to leave his young son and travel to a remote village to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House. Working alone in the old mansion, Kipps begins to uncover the town's tragic and tortured secrets and his fears escalate when he discovers that local children have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances. When those closest to him become threatened by the vengeful woman in black, Kipps must find a way to break the cycle of terror.
Radcliffe is a revelation as Kipps, showing great maturity in his acting, giving his role a real and very believable pathos. Ably supported by Ciarán Hinds as the equally lost soul Daily, the film dissects the raw and very human feeling of loss and how fear and revenge are primal, yet real emotions. Eel Marsh House is the central character here; it has a life (or should that be afterlife?) of its own and gives the film a real sense of dread.
On the small screen, The Woman In Black retains much of the creepy ambience of which it became renowned during its cinema run. Obviously some of the atmosphere is lost but the way in which director James Watkins frames specific scenes, especially where we view paranormal characters in long shot, keeps you on the edge of your seat. He also uses sound and shadows to create his scares rather than splashing large amounts of CGI onto the screen. Less can be more in horror and this is a lesson in such things.
This release seems to be the same used for the cinema which was shorn of 6 seconds of footage, plus had some sound effects reduced with certain scenes darkened. Hopefully we'll get an uncut version very soon.
Though a five-star review awaits an uncut version this is still a compelling and engaging piece of horror that harks back to Hammer's golden era.
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