The Woman in Black: Review Forthcoming

Reviews are just not my forte, but I can't resist. Not since Thir13en Ghosts have I fell in love with a haunted house story like this. The Woman in Black is just wonderful. Wonderful. There is nothing really special, nothing really outrageous, and nothing that has not been seen before - they just did it well and they did it creepy.

So very, very creepy.

Before I gush and get into the reasons I adored every moment of this film, I have to get the bit I disliked off my chest. The introduction of Radcliffe's character. Any amount of sentimentality has me honestly roll my eyes. Add to that an outright grievous amount of sentimentality and I really begin to writhe. At the point that a supporting character asks the lead to not talk about children, I said aloud, "how refreshing!" Knowing what I was getting into, I knew my exasperation was wasted, yet wedding ring, cute kids, pregnant bellies... even the most bleedy bleeding heart would feel their intelligence being slightly insulted. I wanted Children of the Corn, not Wynken, Blynken and Nod. All I could think was 'get on with it!'

Then, they did.

One phrase I heard over and over was 'pop scares' and 'pop-up horror' and sure, there are bucket loads. Some may say too much. I guess we just caught me on a nerves-of-stone-cold-steel kinda night. Only one got me a little, but judging by crowd reaction the Hammer formula was working, as ever. My favorite creepy moment centered around the zoetrope. A subtle, nearly j-horror influence crept in from time to time in what I thought a curious blend of technique.

The largely uncredited character that held the entire film had to be Cotterstock Hall - the true-life location you see when Radcliffe walks up to the Eel Marsh House for the first time. If only I could manage to live there... and haunt there forever. ~sigh~

Production reportedly filmed there for three days, and the rest was purely perfect set design. Although not even one tenth as grand, I grew up in a similarly creepy house. Well, we had less spider webs too. Not long ago, I told a gentleman caller the story of a rocking chair that was moving on it's own accord in the upstairs sun-room of my grandmothers farmhouse. When I approached it, it stopped. This is still the single most frightening thing I have ever seen. Things like that, the wallpaper, the playroom automatons, discarded notes and letters galore, creepy photos in gaudy gothic frames - reminded me not only of being young but how horrific those quiet far off and aged places can be in the daylight. Let alone, Cotterstock Hall, at night, in the rain...

This opens in theatres Friday, and I urge anyone on the fence to go. Great, old fashioned horror with beautiful photography, perfect casting and tin-type perfect set design. 

You may wonder from time to time, as I did, how he can be so brave? Weapon in one hand, candle in the other, heading boldly into the shadows - would you run? I might. Would you at least call out? I would.
This is what great horror is made of: the dark.

p.s. It was awesome to see so many ticket winners from the site and Ottawa Goth Syndicate - then being able to sign a copy of Nightface for an "Arthur" was just too fitting!