Breaking away from a role which an actor is so familiar with and recognisable from is a very difficult prospect and The Woman In Black is Daniel Radcliffe’s first major role beyond the boundaries of Harry Potter. Here he attempts to take on the role of Arthur Kipps, a London-based Lawyer striving to save his job to provide for his son by taking on a case in the North East. All he has to do is go up and check out the paperwork on the estate of a deceased woman. But things are never going to be that simple. Following numerous warnings to stay away from the house, there’s only one way this is heading…to the house.
We now find Arthur in the house and over the course of three days and numerous events, the story unfolds. Rocking chairs rocking whilst no-one is sat in it, doors opening on their own, and clockwork toys setting off on their own and local children seemingly committing suicide…everything is there to provide the right set of jumps for any teenage Harry Potter fan whose scariest cinematic experience to date was Voldemort’s slitty nose! For the seasoned horror goer, The Woman In Black just seems to lack an edge which would have pushed the film from tense to scary. Yes, the tenseness is there and you are always expecting something to happen, but most of the scares are telegraphed to any experienced horror fanatic.
Daniel Radcliffe spends most of the film just looking like Harry Potter with stubble and looking uncomfortable grabbing a candle for light instead of shaking his wand and shouting “Lumos” to light the way. His voice-acting skills still leave a lot to be desired as he still sounds like the boy he was back when The Philosopher’s Stone was released. He did however do well to increase the tension in the times he was silent, bringing the audience into the action and making you want to look around a corner quicker than he was!
All-in-all, The Woman In Black is a good old fashioned English ghost story with a couple of big scary jumps (or more if you aren’t as desensitised to horrors as I am) and a lot of tension which builds and builds to the climax.
Worth a watch.