It seems like every week a preview for a new, more grotesque horror film comes out, each promising to be worse than the one before it. However, when I saw a preview for "The Woman in Black," I couldn't help but be a little interested. Maybe it was because of the movie's star, Daniel Radcliffe, who let's face it, we all loved in the "Harry Potter" series. Or maybe it was the fact that I just wanted a good scare.
"The Woman in Black," directed by James Watkins, begins with Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), a widowed barrister, leaving his 4-year-old son Joseph in London while he goes off to the remote north of England to attend to some business for his law firm. This business turns out to be sorting through mountains of paperwork left by the deceased Alice Drablow in her abandoned home, Eel Marsh House. While Kipps spends his free time in the neighboring village of Crythin Gifford, he learns from reluctant villagers that a mysterious ghost referred to as the Woman in Black haunts the village by making the town's children kill themselves in dark and demented ways. From then on, it becomes Arthur's quest to destroy the Woman in Black, in order to protect the person closest to his heart, his son, who has become a target.
The movie has faults; however, they can be considered only minor setbacks as the rest of the film has so many wonderful qualities. My main and only problem with the film is the amount of time it takes for the plot to thicken and the Woman in Black to appear. For the first half-hour or so, the movie seems to drag on.
Surprisingly, where "The Woman in Black" seems to flourish, is its use of cliched horror movie stunts. The typical person jumping out at the main character or shadows lurking behind him actually heighten the intensity and fear in the audience. It is also the little things that director James Watkins does that make this movie stand out. His use of shrill violin music heightens the audience's anticipation, and leaves people hanging on the edge of their seats, unsure if they want to see more.
Radcliffe leads with a strong and believable performance as a young parent, which is impressive as this is his first movie since "Harry Potter."
"The Woman in Black" ironically is entertaining because of its use of cliche horror movie cinematography that audiences just can't seem to get enough of.
Taylor Johnson is a freshman at Amherst High School.
"The Woman in Black"
3 1/2 stars (out of 4)