Daniel Radcliffe played Harry Potter for half his life. Now that the Harry Potter saga ended, Radcliffe needed to find roles that would help him break free from the his typecast character. He decided to drop the glasses and take the leading role in a horror film, The Woman in Black. The first time I saw the trailer for The Woman in Black was during the previews before The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. Obviously, people packed the theatre, but all was silent as this trailer came on. That was until Radcliffe stood in the middle of the screen. At that point, someone in the audience yelled, “Harry Potter!” in a British accent. Everyone laughed so congratulations random movie theatre screamer. You were a hit that night. He was thinking what we were all thinking. That is the epitome of Radcliffe’s struggle.
As far as this movie goes, I didn’t want to see it. I don’t like horror movies, but we live in a democracy and for some reason I carry that tradition into my group of friends. I will do my best to not allow my bias to come out at any point during this review.
The Woman in Black starts off showing three children innocently playing in a room. The next thing you know they start walking toward a window and jump out of it in a synchronized manner. The three girls inexplicably kill themselves. That scene really sets the tone for the rest of the movie.
After the disturbing beginning, The Woman in Black immediately dissected Radcliffe’s character and within 15 minutes of the start of the movie, the audience knew everything about his character. He is a father who lost his wife when she gave birth to their son. He is always miserable, but he doesn’t take it out on his son. He loves his son more than anything in the world.
The one aspect of his life that his depression does affect is his job. Radcliffe is a lawyer, but his boss threatens to fire him if he doesn’t improve on his next assignment. Naturally his task is very difficult. He has to go to the woman in black’s house and collect all the paperwork.
When he goes to the town, people try to persuade him to turn around and not go to the house; however, Radcliffe doesn’t heed the warning of the townspeople and makes the trek to the house. Everything about this house is creepy. It’s in the middle of nowhere and Radcliffe has to wait for the tide to go down in order to get there. Once he got there he was trapped until the tide went down again.
When he gets there, he sees the woman in black, who is an apparition, and she haunts him for the remainder of the film (Hence the scene in the trailer when she shows up behind him looking through the window). Every time he sees her, a child from the town dies. The thing that makes it really interesting is that his son is coming to visit him in a few days leaving Radcliffe with little time to come up with a solution before the woman in black preys on his son.
The Woman in Black provided real chills. I was terrified of the woman in black. The setting, house and toys in the house were just creepy. Also, the plot wasn’t bad. Everything fit together very well and the acting was fine. I liked that Radcliffe had a legitimate reason to stay at the house. He needed to keep his job and provide for his son. In other horror movies, sometimes you have to wonder why the characters continue to back to a place where people keep dying. I would have left the house in Paranormal Activity during the second or third sign of trouble. I bet looking back on it Micah would have too.
Radcliffe did an excellent job. When the film started and he appeared on screen I just thought to myself, “It’s Harry Potter.” Then I found out that he was a father and I thought, “Harry Potter can’t be a father, he just graduated from Hogwarts.” But as the film progressed, I almost forgot Radcliffe was the main character of the film. I mean I knew it was Radcliffe, but his acting performance was so believable that it didn’t matter that he played Harry Potter for 10 years.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The Woman in Black is a solid horror movie with a good plot and an excellent performance by Radcliffe and the supporting actors. However, the woman in black preys on children during the film, and they die in horrifying ways. I couldn’t handle that disturbing aspect of the film and thinking about it makes me sick.
I’ll give The Woman in Black 3 out of 5 cups.
As of March 7, The Woman in Black made a domestic total of approximately $53 million versus an unknown production budget, according to Box Office Mojo.
To see the movie trailer for The Woman in Black, click here.