Will Daniel Radcliff have a life after Harry Potter? Most likely – but his first post-Potter sub-par horror The Woman in Black sure isn’t helping.
Radcliff plays a young widowed single father living in early 1900s London. Trying to become a successful lawyer, his boss has given him the task of traveling to a small village where he must clean and sell a mansion on the sea. Once he arrives in town, he’s given the cold shoulder by nearly everyone and is constantly asked to leave the house alone and to go back from where he came from. Unless he can seal this deal, he’ll be fired upon returning to London, so he can’t be coaxed to leave so quickly.
When he finally makes it out to the estate, odd things start happening. He hears strange noises within the vacant home and sees a woman in black wandering around the woods. After that, things go awry in town too – children start dying. One little girl drinks a bottle of lye and another lights herself on fire. “Why,” you might ask. Well, that’s not revealed until the climax of the film. In fact, nothing is revealed until the end of the movie. It literally takes 75 minutes to get to any plot whatsoever. Considering that The Woman in Black is only 95 minutes long, there’s no room for anything else to happen.
The first two-thirds of the movie is full of whispers, screams, shadows, creepy wind-up toys and things that go bump in the night. Sure, it will make you jump plenty of times, but there’s more to scary movies than cheap startling moments. When the movies takes the Sixth Sense turn (SPOILER: the ghost needs the help of a living being), it only sinks to an even lower level.
Being a fan of horror movies, The Woman in Black only reaffirms my belief that 99 percent of the PG-13 scary movies out there are absolutely worthless.