On Saturday, Luke and I went to the cinema for a date night to see The Woman in Black (12A/PG-13). I knew three things about the film going in;
- It was starring Daniel Radcliffe in his first film role since the Harry Potter series concluded. Consequently, this was my first trip to the cinema since we went to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 last year.
- It was scary, which meant I was probably going to spend the film hiding behind my hands.
- It had been the UK Box Office number 1 on it's opening weekend.
First things first, yes the lead role was being played by an actor who spent the last 10 years of his life playing the most famous of boy wizards - Harry Potter. But not once did I feel the need to shout at the screen "You're a wizard Harry, come on - Expecto patronum!" The first and last time I thought of Daniel Radcliffe as the kid who plays Harry Potter was when I saw his name in the opening credits. Daniel shed his wizard cloak and became Arthur Kipps, succeeding in what a lot of actors have struggled with, not being typecast. Don't get me wrong, Daniel Radcliffe will probably always be Harry Potter, but in The Woman in Black he proved he can be so much more.
I expected to leave The Woman in Black having to convince Luke that indeed the film had been scary as he rolled his eyes and called me a chicken; which let's face it when it comes to scary films I am. Quite the contrary, we both left the film feeling sufficiently scared. Luke said it was one of the jumpiest films he has ever seen, this coming from a man who spent his teen years watching every scary film known to man.
In this day and age, the term horror film seems synonymous with blood and gore. (This is usually to deter people from noticing the abscence of plot/character development.) Not The Woman in Black, it was scary, without being explicity so. It didn't resort to cheap tricks or overdose on special effects. It returned to the good old fashioned gothic horrors of the Victorian era, back when people's imaginations could create things far scarier than anything Hollywood could come up with.
- A dilapidated manor house - check
- Untrusting villagers - check
- Creepy children - check
- A man alone - check
And you wonder why it's doing so well at the box office? Three days onwards and Luke still has fingernail marks in his right arm from where I was desperately clinging to him.