Radcliffe Horrible in Horror Film, Drags Down “The Woman In Black”

Posted on March 9, 2012


Entertainment | Dan Foster

The Woman in Black

Radcliffe has yet to fully abandon the rough-shaven look he sported during his time as the boy wizard. Photo courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Horror movies have become generic over the years, from the classic slasher film to the occasional ghost story. Although they have become clichéd, it’s obvious that audiences will still pay to see them. The Paranormal Activity series has become very profitable due the consistency of the film’s release and the general amount of scares each film delivers. The way to make a movie scary is through the atmosphere; you can make or break a film this way. In this respect, The Woman in Black succeeds, but the film is far too reliant on jump scares.
The Woman in Black had the makings of a modern horror classic, with a well known lead actor, a screenplay adapted from a popular play, and the development of  a famous studio. However, all of these aspects could not save the film from a general lack of scares and a poor plot.
The story tells of a man named Arthur Kipps, played by Daniel Radcliffe, who is sent to sell the estate of a deceased woman. In the town where the estate is located, Arthur discovers that children are dying mysteriously after seeing a so-called woman in black. The plot never truly develops past that. It is formulaic, boring, and never builds up much tension.
Daniel Radcliffe tries his best to make his character have realistic reactions to the situations, but the script does not give him much to work with, past merely looking scared and saying clichéd dialogue. His performance drags the film down; he is not commanding and still looks like the young boy wizard that we all know. Although the central lead is bad, the supporting cast is much better, with simple citizens of the ghostly town stealing the show as each of them react to the deaths of their own kin.
That brings us to the biggest disappointment of the film; the movie is too reliant on cheap scares like a dog appearing out of nowhere, or a loud scream. The movie never explains itself too much, and focuses on the idea of a ghostly apparition besieging the town. No sequence in this movie will truly scare you, because you will be able to tell when the supposedly scary sequences will occur, because the audio will lower. Questions haunted me the entire movie. If the only way to see the woman in black is to visit the haunted estate, then why go there? Or, why live in a town where you children will die if you see a woman in black?  The film never explains these plot points, and because of that the film becomes an aggravating experience.
The Woman in Black has a great visual style, it’s obvious that a lot of effort was put into the film, but when the final act comes along it renders all the undertaking that character had pointless. The ending  makes the whole hour and a half pointless. I will not say that this was the worst horror movie that I have ever seen, but I will say it’s the worst recent one. Earlier I said the The Devil Inside was the worst movie of the year, but to be honest The Woman in Black may have it beat.

1 out of 4 stars

Posted in: Entertainment