Woman in Black
Madeleine Buisseret takes a look at how Daniel Radcliffe is getting on post-Potter.
So here we finally have it! Daneil Radcliffe de-Potterised. He stars in the Victorian horror story as Arthur Kipps, widowed lawyer summoned to Eel Marsh house to settle the neglected estate after the owner, Mrs. Drablow passed away.
Radcliffe really commits himself to the role of subdued, grief-stricken Kipps, although some dodgy, over-enthused lines in the script invited a comic reaction from some members of the cinema audience rather than the intended fervent gripping of the armrest.
However, Director Watkins sets the haunting mood extremely well as we encountered bumps in the dark, beheaded dolls, flickering shadows and menacing rocking chairs, all enhanced by the emphasis on the sheer isolation of the house, separated from the mainland by the Nine Lives Causeway.
Kipps’ nights in chez Drablow are traditionally spooky; you’re practically peering round the next dark corner in a futile attempt to beat the camera so you avoid the jumpiness of seeing she-who-must-not-be-named.
We perhaps see the woman a little too much for my liking- after speaking to friends who saw it live on stage, the most talked-about aspect of those performances was how you hardly ever saw the woman in black herself, making it far more frightening when she did actually appear. Here, you do see her rather a lot, especially at the slightly cheesy ending, but part of the potential problem is the era this film is in. Watkins had to grapple with the difficult task of mastering a Victorian-style ghost story to a modern audience used to having stunning special effects as a main part of the story, which is something many films nowadays rely far too much on.
This film doesn’t overdo it, but it may suffer from Radcliffe’s inevitable difficulty of escaping from his teenage superstar status. He clears the fence however, and very well too; he handles the multiple subplots and interacts with the supporting cast assuredly. Ciarán Hinds as Daily, one of the welcoming villagers (and there really aren’t many) is not pushed aside to make way for Radcliffe, and the two give compelling momentum to the screenplay. The overall product is handsomely crafted, and you won’t be disappointed.