Woman in Black heralds the return of one of cinema’s greats. No, not Harry Potter, Hammer studios. Once again this re-incarnated purveyor of chilling tales has its cold, dead hand on the shit-yourself button as it releases Susan R. Hill’s classic ghost story. Horror of late has consisted of extreme torture porn (Human Centipede) or 80s slasher film remakes (Nightmare on Elm Street). The former seem designed as a kind of offence endurance event, the latter as a veiled excuse for teenage boys with holes in the bottom of popcorn boxes to quicken the pulses of teenage girls until they stand a chance of getting lucky! This has way more class than either, chooses chills over gore, and whilst hardly original, offers something for fright-fans who see this as a welcome return to form.
It’s not what you see, but what you don’t see; scares lurk in the shadows, and director James Watkins has the patience to build the tension until it is almost unbearable. The only thing for me that lets a generally very good film down is Harr... sorry, Daniel Radcliffe. It’s not that he acts like he’s Harry Potter that bothers me – it’s that he doesn’t! Every time something happened I expected him to bust out the magic and every time that he didn’t, I got more pissed off with him. Is this my fault? No. Eight Potter films later, I fear poor Danny boy’s career may be the only thing from this film not to come back from the dead. Shame.