The Woman In Black (2012) – movie review

 

The Woman in Black 2012 - pic 1

The Woman in Black  (2012)

 

Directed by James Watkins

Starring
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

 

Horns (2014) – movie review

Horns pic 17

Horns (2014)Horns poster

Directed by Alexandre Aja

Starring:
Daniel Radcliffe
Max Minghella
Joe Anderson
Juno Temple
Heather Graham

(slight spoilers)
I usually like movies based on a good book, even if some aspects are different. I realize the events of a book that takes over a month to read are not going to fit into a two hour film. I know that inner thoughts from the main character are not going to be translated well to the screen and little asides that add depth to characters will not work well in a film. Things will be changed to visual aspects of story telling and some parts will be left out. This film is adapted from the book of the same name by Joe Hill.

Iggy Parrish wakes up one day to find his girlfriend, the love of his life, was murdered. He is accused of killing her, but evidence Horns pic 8is lost making prosecution near impossible. He then wakes with horns growing out of his head which gives everyone he meets the desire to confess their greatest sins to him. He has gained some powers of the devil, where he can lead people into temptation among other things. It’s kinda’ like the opposite of Bruce Almighty 🙂

This is not a typical horror film. Despite the strange, horror-like occurrences in the story, the real horrors are the true to life aspects. The break-up in the diner was a scenario we’ve probably all lived through. I once had a situation where everyone thought I did something wrong (something went missing in the store I worked at) and no matter what I said, no one believed me. I was later vindicated but too many bad things were said and it had cost me several relationships. There are other aspects to this film that are excruciating but lean more toward drama, the horror of real lifeHorns pic 2 or in the classical sense, the comedy, which in early opera and plays meant the painful irony of life. Iggy is laughed at, scoffed at, and wrongly accused in this film. False accusations and ridicule are painful parts of life many of us have probably dealt with in our own existence.

It’s not until the third act that this film (and the book) resembles a true horror story. Ig sharpens his horns (so to speak) and the horrors begins. The ending is dismal but there is also a reconciliation aspect to it. In the book, the final showdown between Iggy and his best friend, Lee, is much bigger. I do think Alexandre Aja delivered a good adaptation of the book. I’m not sure if that translates to a good watch for those who have not read the book. I’m sure some of my enjoyment came from re-living parts of the book I liked so much. It’s not a frightening story. It is a great horror story nevertheless, one that I think can be enjoyed by not only horror fans, but a wider general audience.

Horns pic 16

A tragic story that keeps you glued to the screen for its mystery and murder aspects and mesmerized by the strange affliction of the main character, Iggy Parrish.

I give it 4.0 sinful confessions out of 5 on the scale of guilty, gluttonous lies for selfish deeds and self preservation needs

Read my book review here: Joe Hill – Horns

Horns – by Joe Hill – Book Review

Joe Hill horns bookHorns
by Joe Hill

People often wake up with problems on their mind but not like this. Iggy Perrish wakes one morning to an unusual dilemma, overnight he has grown horns out of his head, just above his temples. What makes it worse; the horns make anyone in his presence need to confess their darkest secrets, subconscious desires, and most horrible sins. Would you really want your friends and family telling you these things? To complicate matters further, Iggy’s long time girlfreind, Merrin, had been murdered recently and although Ig was cleared of wrongdoing legally, he can now see (and hear) that everyone thinks he is guilty.

joe-hill-horns-reading

Joe Hill reading his book

Ig soon realizes that, even with concrete proof of his innocence, the town’s people are not going to change their opinion of him; in their eyes he is a murderer. Ig decides he will find Merrin’s killer for her sake and for his own satisfaction. He begins to burn bridges and step on toes in town with no care about his own outcome. However, the murderer does not want to be exposed and aggressively counters Ig’s efforts with a special talent of his own.This is a very interesting concept and angle in horror fiction. It brings up some serious questions about family and religion without being preachy. It is an intriguing story with strong characters, one of the best horror fiction books I’ve read this year.

We will be treated to the film version of Horns, later this year.

Directed by Alexandre Aja and starring Daniel Radcliffe as Ig Perrish, IMDb reports that the movie is in post-production with an October 2013 release date.

daniel_radcliffe_horns_movie_joe_hill
Radcliffe will play Ig Perrish in the upcoming film, HORNS!