The Woman in Black (2012)
Directed by James Watkins
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciarán Hinds, Roger Allam
Director James Watkins took on this film which was adapted for the screen from the 1983 novel written by Susan Hill. Watkins is relatively unknown with only one other film to his credit as a director. This classic horror film stars Daniel Radcliffe in his first major project since finishing the last of the Harry Potter films. He’s joined by Janet McTeer, Ciarán Hinds, and Roger Allam. Janet McTeer is a two-time Oscar nominee for her work in Tumbleweeds (1999) and Albert Nobbs (2011). Hinds is also well-known for his work which includes films like The Debt, There Will Be Blood, and Munich. Allam has had great roles in movies like The Wind That Shakes the Barley and V for Vendetta.
Attorney Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) has been sent by his firm in a remote village. His assignment is to sort out the papers of a recently deceased woman. While there he encounters the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman bent on revenge. The people of the village have been her targets and now the woman in black has put Arthur in the middle of a dark secret.
This is a classic ghost story told with great visuals. The movie takes full advantage of the locations used, as well as the well-designed sets. The set decoration is one of the major strengths of the film since it fits the period and manages to avoid being too stereotypical for horror films. The camera work is also amazing, with shot composition that effectively draws your eye to the right places.
The score in the movie is another strength. Composer Marco Beltrami does a great job weaving his music through the film and enhancing the suspense. He has been previously nominated for Oscars for his music in The Hurt Locker and 3:10 to Yuma.
The acting in this movie is well done. Daniel Radcliffe is great as the leading man. Despite the genre, Radcliffe was called on for a serious and deep role. Most of the other parts are small but significant which made the performances of McTeer, Hinds, and Allam vital to the success of the movie. They all succeeded and made the movie fun to watch.
This is a deeply psychological drama with powerful performances to back it up. From the music to the visuals it keeps you interested and catches you off guard all at once. I give this movie 3.9 out of 5 stars.