Monday, February 6, 2012

Woman in Black

A lot of people have been asking my opinion on The Woman in Black that Adrien and I went to see on Saturday. I figured I'd save myself some time and just spill my thoughts in a blog post.

If someone were to ask if I recommended seeing the movie, I'd say to them "Yes, but wait until it's on DVD." The primary reason for this? In a movie theatre you can't hide under a blanket and cling very easily to your neighbor. Such as it was, Adrien and I were hiding behind our jackets and pressed as closely together as our seats would allow.

However, I'd also say that if you have children, or are a very sensitive person (particularly when it comes to children), don't see the film. Here's a little test to see if you'll be able to handle it:
-Have you seen The Others?
-Have you seen The Orphanage?
-Have you seen The Innocents?
-Did you enjoy them or find them too creepy to bear?
Obviously you have to consider if you can handle not only the scares of the film, but the potentially disturbing images of dead or dying or ghosty children.

Now we move on.

Aviso! Potentially spoiling spoilers ahead! If you haven't seen it, enjoy the trailer below and stop reading (unless you don't mind being spoiled).

There were a few things about the film that I didn't like.

1. How old is Arthur's son? I could swear they said he was 4 years old multiple times in the film, but everyone else (on movie blogs and such) says he's 3. I think he acts more like a 4 year old anyway. Yes, I realize this is a quibbling point.

2. Why didn't the townspeople just TELL Arthur about the curse? Seriously, the lives of several children could have been saved.

3. If you are up against losing your job if you don't complete a task, and a seriously demented ghost starts haunting you at your jobsite, and children are dying because of it, weigh your options and GET A NEW JOB!!!

4. He never even sorted out the legal paperwork anyway. Pff.

5. Why, after being reunited with her son, did the Woman in Black still exact her revenge on the village? I understand that she was crazy, and that she said she'd never forgive her sister, but why didn't she just hunt down her sister's ghost so the two could have it out, and stop killing other peoples' kids? Eh?

And there were things that I liked (obviously; if I'm pulling things like an incongruity in age for my "dislikes" list):

1. The sets, costumes, and lighting made it all very believable. I've decided that Victorian times are the perfect setting for hauntings, because all the furniture, toys, lights, etc are terribly conducive to creepiness. It's true that Gothic horror seems to really be the best horror sub-genre.

2. The cinematography was excellent. Often used was the camera in the point of view of the ghost. It wasn't overplayed either, it was used subtly; you never saw the camera zoom in on a frightened Arthur's face.

3. Arthur acted rationally. If you're locked on an island with the tide in, with ghosts inside and outside the house, you're going to have to do something about it either way. And we learned pretty quickly that ignoring it isn't going to help the situation.

4. The deaths were realistic, and the haunting seemingly also real. There were no seances or any of that drivel. The only issue I had with it was the wife of Sam who for some reason was able to channel the ghosts of the children. Why her?

5. There was just the right amount of occasional humor. Arthur's son's drawing of his father with a perpetually frowny face, the presence of "the twins" at dinner time, etc.

6. The "frights" were not stupid. Aside from the occasional ghost screaming down the hallway and the boy's ghost emerging from the bed, there was nothing that made you stop, raise an eyebrow, and say "Really?" Even the little parts that made you jump felt necessary and not contrived.

I do, however, have some questions that I'd like input on. First of all, how did Arthur know how to reunite the ghost with his mother? I can understand the birthday cards, but why was it necessary to wind up all the creepy toys in the nursery? Similarly, why did the boy come out of the bed in another room? I understand that Arthur probably let in the boy's ghost by opening the door when he came a-knocking, but why didn't that allow the two ghosts to find each other?

Another question I have is what was the deal with Arthur and his son being killed? Part of me wants to say that it was the WIB's sick form of saying 'thanks' to Arthur for reuniting her with her son (you know, he reunited her so she figured she'd reunite his little family). But that part of me just really wants this film to be one of the best scary movies I've seen, and if the WIB had just decided to keep killing kids for no reason besides "NEVER FORGIVE!" seems silly. I mean really, that's why I hated The Ring. But if she was just saying thank you, what relevance did Sam seeing all the ghosts of the dead children have? Was it all their little spirits finally being released from the clutches of the WIB? Did they appear to Sam because he was the father of one of the dead?

Oh, and for the record, having seen My Boy Jack and plenty of interviews with Daniel Radcliffe (plus the hilarious SNL episode a few weeks ago), I had no problem whatsoever removing the idea of Harry Potter from my mind. And I also have to say that Daniel Radcliffe has done an excellent job in being able to perform roles very different from the boy wizard. I don't know why people have issues with him having facial hair, or being married, or being the father of a young boy. The man's almost 23, he's not 15 anymore.

I'm very curious to hear what you thought, if you've seen the film.


Kimmy Haskins said...

Just saw it...I'm so disturbed now! But I totally agree with your analysis here. Would you mind if I put a link for this in my own blog about WIB?

Shannon said...

mais oui! We need to chat about theories. Unless you are as lost as I am?

Reyna said...

I just saw it last night and wasn't actually impressed with the story at all. Loved the adorable little boy. Loved the location. The marshes of England? SO everything that I want. And Daniel Radcliffe proved to me that he is a very good actor. Besides that, bleh. Not much loving here.