Hammer Film Productions has been scaring audiences senseless for decades, with cult horror classics like 1957's The Curse Of Frankenstein and the Christopher Lee version of Dracula (1958). Recently revamped, the studio is looking to contemporize its views on horror by unleashing the Gothic ghost story The Woman In Black.
Based on author Susan Hill's 1983 novel of the same name, The Woman In Black focuses on a young lawyer named Arthur Kipps (played by a rather mature-looking Daniel Radcliffe) who goes into a strange town in order to settle the affairs of a recently deceased woman named Alice Drablow. But, like any good horror tale, the town isn’t all that it seems, and Kipps soon realizes that a ghost may be responsible for the recent sting of deaths and suicides in the area.
It looks like director James Watkins, the man responsible for the criminally underrated 2008 British horror flick Eden Lake, has nailed a classical Gothic atmosphere that harkens back to the Hammer films of the past. His more natural approach to lighting and cinematography, as opposed to CGI and overreliance on soundstage shooting, makes the mood even more believable, and, thus, much more unsettling. As the teaser glimpses, The Woman In Black appears cold, barren, and absolutely beautiful, in a twisted kind of way.
The teaser perfectly sets the film's tone without ever showing too much. It doesn’t depend on quick cuts to frighten audiences or flashy money shots to dazzle the eye; instead, it creates a series of haunting images that are subtlely creepy. The only real drawback is the fact that Radcliffe doesn’t say a word during the whole thing. It would have been nice to get a feel as to how he is going to approach the character, but, then again, less is more.
With his Quidditch stick collecting dust in the broom closet, Radcliffe can officially begin his post-Harry-Potter acting career. We’ll see if he’s an actor who's here to stay when The Woman In Black gets released on February 3, 2012.
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