Film review: The Woman in Black (four out of five stars)

(12A) 95mins

Tuesday, 14th February 2012, 9:17 am

Director: James Watkins

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciarán Hinds

THIS was always going to be the first big film for Daniel Radcliffe following the conclusion of the Harry Potter franchise.

And to be honest, he’s pretty good. Director James Watkins gets in close with the camera on a number of occasions and Radcliffe has to show some pretty extreme emotions which he does well.

The Woman in Black started off as a novel by Susan Hill and was turned into a highly successful stage play.

I’ve seen the play a couple of times and it is definitely scary and I was wondering how the movie would compare.

Writer Jane Goldman has chosen to ‘adapt’ the story, so we start off with Radcliffe’s character, lawyer Arthur Kipps, widowed after his wife gave birth to their son a few years before.

Still full of grief, he accepts a job to go to a remote and now empty house (that gets cut off by the sea on a daily basis) and sort out various papers lying about.

The locals in the nearby village shun him except for one man (Ciarán Hinds) who doesn’t hold with the idea that a dead woman is terrorising everyone and threatening children.

There’s plenty of shocks and tricks of the trade (flapping birds, sinister toys, locked rooms ect) but it all holds together pretty well.

The final scenes are definitely different to the book and play but work well enough with the overall theme that Jane Goldman sets up.

The main star, though, is the setting, with a desolate landscape and the ramshackle empty house creating a tense mood from the outset.

However, Radcliffe is definitely a star on the rise and it’s good to see him mature as an actor.

As for the 12A certificate - all I can say is young people are tougher these days. I probably would have been hiding under the seats if I’d seen this film at that age.

Steve Payne

Screening coutesy of Cineworld Crawley