The Woman In Black (2012) – movie review


The Woman in Black 2012 - pic 1

The Woman in Black  (2012)


Directed by James Watkins

Daniel Radcliffe
Ciarán Hinds
Janet McTeer
Liz White

For a Hammer film, I would expect no less than a gothic ghost-tale, taking place in a deserted mansion, in the countryside of England. Being a period piece only adds to the true Hammer experience of yesteryear. These were elements missing from the re-launched Hammer production’s previous films.

A young lawyer, Arthur Kipps, struggling to provide for his motherless son, is sent on a countryside journey to the estate property, known as the Eel Marsh House. After the passing of tThe Woman In Black posterhe last living relative, Alice Drablow, it is Mr. Kipps’ assignment to wade through the mountain of paperwork at the decrepit estate, in order for his firm to gain the rights to sell it. At the Estate, Mr. Kipps begins to hear strange noises which lead to the frequent sighting of the Woman in Black, a ghastly, dark presence that haunts the Eel Marsh House. In town, there are several deaths of children. Mr. Kipps begins to investigate a recurrence of child deaths throughout many years and their ties to the Eel Marsh House. The intriguing story unfolds in layers as the mystery is revealed.


Daniel Radcliffe plays the young lawyer, Arthur Kipps, wonderfully, sporting  old-English style side-burns, causing one to wholly forget his Harry Potter persona. Ciarán Hinds plays an outstanding supporting role as the local neighbor, Sam Daily, who, years earlier, lost his own son to tragedy.

The Eel Marsh House provides a fantastic setting, almost like a character itself; it sits upon an isolated hill that becomes surrounded by water during high tide. There is a small family graveyard on the property, which adds to the creepiness of the house and exudes the perfect atmosphere for sightings of the veiled, woman in woman in black radcliffeblack. The inside of the mansion is suitably run-down, genuinely old, and neglected, with cob-webs, worn edges and dimly lit areas for evil to hide. The cinematography in this film was exceptional, portraying the ugly-beauty of the age tattered estate.

The Woman in Black is a classic, old-fashioned ghost story. It’s a slow-burn with a small cast and low-key feel, self contained in the sparse community surrounding the estate. This is not the full-on, ‘Poltergeist’ style ghost film. The haunting is subtle; a noise, a toy turning on for no reason, a movement seen in the mirror, and movement in your peripheral vision.  It is the type of film that I have purchased on DVD for my own collection and watch it often around Halloween. If the new Hammer Films would make all of their movies in this style and not try to compete with Hollywood, I would be quite pleased.

parlor of horror – movie review


14 thoughts on “The Woman In Black (2012) – movie review

  1. Nice review. Personally, I thought this film was just okay, nothing special. But I thought Daniel Radcliffe played the part really well though.

  2. I got so excited when I saw the first trailer. I was hoping it would be akin to The Others. I remember feeling a bit let down. Maybe I should revisit it.

      • I might be mixing this up with some others, but was there some CGI spookery? That was the only real turn off.

        I probably would have appreciated it more if I was better versed in classic Hammer. Aside from the big titles and a few others, I haven’t seen much. This is weird considering how long I’ve been a horror fan and the stature or Hammer.

      • I was the same way with Hammer, I had only seen a couple of Dracula films, one Frankenstein film and a few others. So a few years ago I set out to buy and watch all of the Hammer Horror films (about 40). I was able to get most of them for only $5 used on Amazon. It was a great journey and fun to delve onto that world. British horror has a distinct feel. It was before I started this blog so I didn’t review them. One day, maybe…

  3. Great review! I really like this film from Hammer as well, its certainly one of their best new films. The Woman In Black is so well filmed, dark, gothic, and a great performance from Daniel Radcliffe. A good film to watch at Halloween time for sure!

  4. Oh, I particularly enjoyed this one! Radcliffe is really good as long as you take him out of Potter. This movie came together much better than I expected. Worth adding to any DVD collection!

    • Radcliffe did that himself, he cleanly removed the Harry Potter from his performance and positioned himself early in the film as a hard working, serious Britt. I’m wondering if he actually looked to Cushing or Lee for inspiration on how to perform in a gothic film. Peter Cushing was especially good at this, no matter how zany the plot was, Cushing would sell it as a serious dilemma and make you believe his character and the movie’s scenario.

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