The Woman in Black (2012) – 4/5

An evil, heart attack inducing film that features a sort of silly plot and a stupid main character, but also some of the scariest sequences I’ve seen in a mainstream film in ages. And the subject matter is also pretty dark and disturbing, especially considering the actor playing the main character’s past roles in fare that has been the complete opposite of what this movie turns out to be. I have a feeling Daniel Radcliffe purposely chose this to be his next film because he knew it’d be the best way to give Harry Potter the finger without being too overt about it. Smart.

The film itself is pretty good. Well shot and edited, and well acted all around, especially by the woman who plays the crazy wife/mother of Radcliffe’s tall, bulky looking side kick character. The woman with the pony tails who claims her dead son speaks through her. She’s good. Radcliffe is okay in this, though, not great. His character is pretty stupid, honestly, especially during the second half when he **SPOILERS** abandons all form of rationality and continues mulling about the clearly haunted house despite the many attempts it makes on his life.

Come on, man. You see dead children in the garden, you’ve got a dead little boy angrily rising from the mud and making his way to your house, and you’re harassed by a crazed, seemingly all-powerful demon woman who keeps running around knocking things over and screaming her head off just beyond your visual periphery, and you don’t make a mad dash for the exit? And that whole plan at the end of him diving into the mud and pulling out the little boy’s corpse in a crazy scheme to reunite him with his crazed demon mother was ridiculous. Looked nice, don’t get me wrong, but the idea comes out of nowhere and makes an only artificial kind of sense. What made him think an angry demon creature from beyond the grave could be dissuaded or reasoned with in such a manner anyhow, or at all even? Because he’s seen it work in other movies and thought it would here too? And, naturally, it doesn’t work, but the very idea is hoakey to begin with. **END SPOILERS**

The film is extremely scary at times, though, plot flaws and all. Sure, some of the scares are cheap, especially at the beginning, but there’s a whole sequence about a third of the way in that’s done in almost complete silence that scared the living daylights out of me. It’s **SPOILERS** the first time Radcliffe is alone in the house overnight. **END SPOILERS** God. It goes on for what feels like a half hour, and is absolutely terrifying, Christ. And it just doesn’t let up. I was shaking and weeping softly in my chair during the whole thing, which is odd considering how much of a fearless manly man I am in real life. But this movie struck a nerve, and did so without resorting to the use of too much gore or too many cheap tricks. And it only got scarier as it progressed. Well done.

Overall, I enjoyed this film, a lot. The plot is stupid at times, especially when you start to wonder **SPOILERS** why in the hell the townspeople bother to stay in that village at all when a horrible demon monster hell-bent on unquenchable revenge is killing off their children, **END SPOILERS** and Radcliffe’s character is a complete idiot who does things a child of ten would have the good sense to avoid doing, but the story is morbid, ballsy, and disturbing, and, most importantly, the film is scary as hell, which, at the end of the day, is all you can really ask for in a horror movie. And what an ending. Yeowza!

Worth watching. Definitely. Just be warned: it’s damn scary.

 

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