"The Woman in Black"
Release Date: Feb. 3, 2012
Running Time: 95 minutes
Daniel Radcliffe spent much of his time between Harry Potter adventures perfecting his craft on stage in the revivals ofEquus and How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. So it should come as no surprise that Radcliffe’s first post-boy wizard film role would be in The Woman in Black, a gothic horror film from the recently revived Hammer Films. The ghost story, written by Susan Hill and published in 1983, spawned the celebrated 1989 stage production that ranks as the second-longest running play in the history of London’s West End and still plays to packed audiences. Jane Goldman’s spine-tingling adaptation is based on Hill’s novel and not the play or the 1989 BBC TV film written by Hammer regular Nigel Kneale. Radcliffe stars a recently widowed father and lawyer who is sent to the countryside to find the will of a recently deceased woman. The will is buried in a pile of paperwork in her decaying family estate. The locals aren’t happy to see Radcliffe, especially as his arrival coincides with the unexpected death of a young girl. The death is linked to Radcliffe’s sighting of a mysterious woman near the estate’s graveyard. Who is this woman in black? What does she want? And why does Radcliffe quickly come to fear for the life of his young son? Uninterested in cheap scares, director James Watkins allows the tension to build slowly as The Woman in Black reaches its chilling climax. Every step Radcliffe takes inside the dark and sprawling estate home is fraught with danger. Watkin’s no-frills approach may disappoint those weaned on such gimmickry morality plays as Saw, but The Woman in Black is proof that you don’t need to soak the screen with blood and gore to unnerve audiences. As for Radcliffe, he manages to bring to a role he’s too young to play the right combination of grieve and fortitude required to battle not just his character’s personal demons but a malevolent force from the grave. He also shows that there’s more to him than Harry Potter.
Aired: Feb. 2, 2012
Web site: http://cbsfilms.com/woman-in-black/