Susan Hill’s gothic novella direct from the ‘80s has been revisited in The Woman in Black: The Angel of Death. After Daniel Radcliffe provided us with his fresh take on horror movie acting in the first film, protagonist school teacher Miss Parkins, played by Phoebe Fox, had a lot to live up to. However, if you haven’t seen the first – this won’t make too much sense.
The film begins amidst the grime of England in 1914 where we follow the lives of a pocket of schoolchildren being sent away as evacuees to a lonely, rather grim island lost amongst marshy territory. Picture the typical, black haunted house with rotten floorboards and you’re halfway there. Despite the predictable horror movie set-up, tense silences and subtle violin screeches accompany that odd floating head rather terrifyingly.
Fox is rather unfortunate as the ex-house owner is particularly unforgiving of previous mishaps. Miss Parkins experiences shaking visions, children committing suicide whilst entangling themselves in barbed wire and a mystery that is still left unsolved. She is quite the risk-taker, even after the writing of blood on the walls and the possession of an orphan child.
Parkins’ regular trips to the cellar allow us to witness a self-rocking chair, ghostly dolls and flashbacks to her past in which the dead lady of the house wants to make her suffer for. The Woman in Black: The Angel of Death isn’t gruesome or gory; nor is it expensively made or a masterpiece, but it certainly is the most fun you can get out of a horror film. Expect nervous titters from cinema audiences, a tense neck from squealing at ridiculous scare-mongering, and knocking your popcorn over.
A mysterious ending may in fact also prove that the creepy bitch really never forgets.
[Emmie Harrison – @emmieeharrison]