The Man Who Was Harry Potter investigates some old-fashioned supernatural occurrences
James Watkins' "The Woman in Black" is willfully out-of-step with all of the horror trends of the past decade.
It isn't found footage or torture porn or adapted from something the Japanese or Koreans did first. It isn't in 3D or a reboot, nor is it proliferated with romantic vampires or fast-moving zombies. No sexy stars from The CW get butchered in half-clothed ways and no former film and TV icons are using their ironic on-screen deaths for career resurrection. You might say that "The Woman in Black" is in a similar vein to the 2001 smash "The Others," but it isn't a narrative built entirely around a Shyamalanian twist ending.
"The Woman in Black" is old-fashioned and proudly so. You can think of it as Hammer meets Masterpiece Theater, but it's really just a classically structured Victorian ghost story equipped with a couple decent scares, some spooky atmosphere and a very reasonable 96-minute running time.
Attempts to find characterization, subtext or real surprises in "The Woman in Black" probably won't amount to anything, but accepting it as the creepy, decently made exercise that it is ought to yield some minor frights.
Full review after the break...