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FILM REVIEW: The Woman In Black

TITLE: The Woman In Black
STARS: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds
DIRECTOR: James Watkins
RELEASED: February 10th 2012

On a rare family outing today, I saw the film from which I was expecting to contract a bad case of nightmares for weeks. Friends who had already seen it coupled with the frankly terrifying trailer had geared me up for a real fright.

When I was a 14-year-old GCSE Drama student, my class went on a school trip to see the stage play of The Woman In Black. To say that it scared me is the biggest understatement in the world. I, along with my classmates (and my teacher!), came out of the theatre completely shaken up with images running through our sleeping and conscious heads for days afterwards. After seeing the film, I actually had to ask myself whether I was in fact just an hysterical little girl back then.

Daniel Radcliffe is a brilliant actor and in my mind, there was never any question that the role of Harry Potter could have been written for him but I found his performance as the father of a four-year-old quite unconvincing. Maybe it’s because he’s played a 17-year-old wizard and a middle-aged father of one in the space of a year? Or the simple fact that he is actually only 23? Some would argue that a good actor can play any part with conviction but I’m not so sure, particularly in this case.

The film itself is, in my opinion, nowhere near as scary as the trailer makes it out to be or as scary as the stage play it’s based on. All in all though, it’s a decent film with a devastating ending and wonderful twist, which will possibly leave you in tears. However, I would argue that it’s perhaps one of those endings, which can be read in more than one way. At the risk of producing a spoiler here, maybe she granted his wish like he granted hers?

I suppose it’s one way of reading it but either way, the film suggests that you can’t control or lift supernatural curses, which is something I like about it. To have a plain happy ending would make it like a lot of films, which make everything good in the end just for the label of feel-good and to leave the audience feeling like everything is tied up neatly. Personally, I like being left with ambiguity or a definite moral with a slightly disturbing but realistic meaning.

I would say that it’s definitely worth seeing, if you’re ready for a sad haunting movie with a few make-you-jump moments but if you’ve read the book or seen the play, don’t go thinking that the film is also a real no-sleep thing because you’ll only be disappointed.

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