Friday, February 24, 2012

"The Women in Black" is an Old Fashion Horror Flick

Three Stars

Daniel Radcliffe takes a train ride that isn’t headed towards Hogwarts, in the new horror picture “The Women in Black”. “The Women in Black” is traditional to a fault. An old fashioned, horror picture that takes place in a haunted house, Daniel Radcliff plays Arthur, a lawyer who is devastated after his wife dies in childbirth. Having to go through a client’s processions because of her death, he arrives at a big house outside of a spooky town, where children seem to die mysteriously. The townspeople blame the ghost who lives in the house for forcing the children to kill themselves. While in the mysterious town, he befriends a landowner named Sam (Ciaran Hinds), who’s himself had a child who died. His wife has episodes sometimes and thinks that the child is talking through her.

The movie’s haunted house is a very good piece of production design, and Radcliffe goes through the movie without much dialogue. He looks through the house, with many glances of curiosity and fear. Some scenes have the ghost appear behind him, but then it disappears. He hears noises, but it ends up being just an old rocking chair. However, it’s rocking a bit hard back and forth harder than usual, but maybe it’s just the wind. There are many setups but a lot of the stuff just turns out to be stuff in the house blowing in the wind. Arthur and his friend, Sam want to believe it's not real but over time come to the conclusion there is something haunted about that house.

The ghost has some creepy back story about how she lost her child. Based on the novel by the British horror novelist Susan Hill, “The Women in Black” is a very traditional horror movie. Not that that’s really a bad thing. It doesn’t go for the gross out factor like many of the horror movies do today. Arthur must succeed, because his job depends on it, and he has a four year old kid. The film is Daniel Radcliffe’s first film since “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”, and he doesn’t do a bad job in this film. The film requires him to mostly be spooked, and he does a good job of that. I get the feeling that Radcliffe, after the mega success of “Harry Potter” wanted to do something different and on a smaller scale and “The Women in Black” is that.
I wasn’t too terrified by the film, but there were a couple times I was spooked. There are a lot of dark hallways in this movie, and angry townspeople who believe in the spirit of the house. If you’re going to take your kid to see their first horror movie, this isn’t a bad choice, as it isn’t as intense as say, Saw or that kind of torture porn. It’s an old fashioned haunted house flick. The film is effective, and the director James Wakins does a good job of keeping the old fashioned kind of suspense going. The film depends mostly on the production design, glances, and mysterious deaths. I guess you don’t want to go to a haunted mansion with a ghost who is intent on killing children. Should have listened to the townspeople, but characters in horror movies never do.

No comments: