Movie Review: The Woman in Black

The horror-thriller, “The Woman in Black,” may not be high art, but it’s great start for the Hammer film folks, who are trying to live up to the reputation that made the horror brand such a mainstay of the 1950’s, 1960’s and early 1970’s.

Daniel Radcliffe (yes, Harry Potter himself), stars as Arthur Kipps, a turn-of-the-century lawyer immersed in grief over the recent death of his young wife.  His job in jeopardy, Kipps must travel to a remote British town to handle the affairs of a recently deceased eccentric.

He leaves his young son in London in the hands of his nanny, and proceeds to the strange town, where folks are unnaturally protective of their children.  Kipps decides to spend some quality time at the old woman’s house, going through her papers.  And, then things start going “bang in the night.”  Not bump.

“The Woman in Black” is VERY loosely based on the London stage play of the same name, one of the longest-running productions in the West End.  It’s been in continuous performances since 1989, and I vaguely remember seeing it in the early 1990’s.  I do remember how scary it was for a stage play.

The movie is just as frightening and will be a welcome escape for lovers of haunted house stories like myself.  Yes, it’s mostly Kipps stumbling around the old house dodging ghosts, but the atmosphere and scary moments are there for all to enjoy.

Radcliffe plays an adult quite convincingly.  Kipps is a character you care about.  And, the story is about as spooky as it gets.  Grade: B+