Seeing him return to big-screen after his duel with You-Know-Who was a sheer delight. The world has seen him play a school boy, determined to avenge the murder of his parents and to save the world from falling into the hands of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. I’m sure the fans of The-Boy-Who-Lived must have known by now of whom I’m talking about. Yes! He’s the green-eyed boy who shot to fame overnight playing the most celebrated fiction character after Sherlock Holmes and have been entertaining us since 2001- Daniel Radcliffe.
I’m a big Harry Potter fan. And now, after watching The Woman in Black I am convinced that it was not merely because Radcliffe played Harry Potter he turned heads, but he is in fact a good actor. Just allow him to mesmerize you in TWiB by his expressions and the emotions exuded with almost ‘no’ dialogues to deliver, and you’ll know what I mean.
Based on the 1982 novel by Susan Hills with the same name, The Woman in Black reminds me of the era in which horror films meant a dilapidated and haunted house located in a desolate place with a grave yard in the vicinity, unwelcoming villagers, apparition and disapparition (in Harry Potter parlance) of ghostly figures, and to top it all- mysterious deaths of innocent (not always) people. The creepiness of the village in TWiB and the mystery that it entails can be closely compared with The Sleepy Hollow, but amplified 10 times, only because TWiB lacks even a slight moment of jest which was sprinkled, though sporadically, in The Sleepy Hollow. If watched alone during night with head phones plugged in your ears I’ll bet on anything if the movie doesn’t make your heart skip a beat.
A young widower and a lawyer by profession, Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), lands up an assignment of settling the estate, the Eel Marsh House in the countryside, of a deceased Mrs. Alice Drablow. This is his last chance to protect his job as his work performance has been declining post his wife’s death. He leaves the house, and his 4-year-old son to be looked after by his housemaid, to complete the assignment. The catch here, however, is that the Eel Marsh House is haunted by the ghost of a woman who appears in black dress. The house over-qualifies to be crowned as the most haunted and creepy looking house I’ve ever seen. On his visit to the Eel Marsh House, Kipps witnesses, to his horror, strange and eerie events. There are young children committing suicide, the cause of which is not known. Fighting back the demons of his own past and wanting to protect his job, Kipps becomes more determined to investigate the cause behind these events and thereby lands up knee-deep in trouble. Why the children are committing suicides, or ‘are they’? Is there any link between the deaths and the Woman in Black? What secret lies in the ill-fated Eel Marsh House? Check out the answers yourself.
I just loved the way the movie is shot. The location, the cast, the creepy looking toys and porcelain dolls in the Eel Marsh House, the early 20th century British country side backdrop, and a riveting performance from Radcliffe are the prime reasons one should go for TWiB. There is only one flaw that I found in this movie. It is very hard to digest Radcliffe playing a father of a 4-year-old son. If Radcliffe’s age is overlooked then the movie is a pure entertainer with heart pounding horror sequences and thrills. The movie sparingly relies on conversation among the characters to reveal the story. In fact, Watkins have ensured that the story unravel itself and let the audience join the tit-bit of information revealed to form the complete picture.
Many years after watching Paranormal Activity, 1408, and Grudge have I come across a real horror entertainer with solid performance. The movie is guaranteed to send chills down the spine of even the bravest viewer. Do let me know how you found this movie. Also, I’ll appreciate if you can suggest me good books or movies to go for.