Watched Jun 19, 2012
Adam Cook’s review:
Nigel Kneale’s TV adaptation of The Woman in Black is still one of my favourite British horror films so I was apprehensive when I heard the director of the uninspired Eden Lake would be teaming with Harry Potter to bring the story to the big screen. Unfortunately my apprehension proved to be more than justified.
James Watkins has made a very handsome film but as a horror movie it rarely works. The central casting of Daniel Radcliffe is the first stumbling block. I’ve never rated him as an actor and his performance here has done little to convince me that my original opinion was incorrect. It is like watching a boy play dress up and he never once convinces as a father or bereaved husband.
The second problem is the lack of palpable dread and effective atmosphere. A Gothic tale such as this should be dripping in a sense of foreboding yet this adaptation is disappointingly flat. Instead it relies heavily on cheap jump scares to deliver the horror but they need to be used sparingly if they are to be effective. Bar a 15-minute period the film never really delivers the required terror to be genuinely scary. The script is rather heavy handed, the changes from the source material add very little and even the more seasoned, and normally reliable, actors are far from brilliant. Disappointing.