Tag Archives: The Woman In Black

‘The Woman in Black: Angel of Death’ Finds Director

Actor Daniel Radcliffe proved he was all grown up and ready to give us a scare in February of 2012. No, this was not when he went nude for Equus on the stage. Rather, that month saw the release of The Woman in Black, a horror film making headlines once again because a new sequel has been ordered.

The Woman in Black grossed about $127,730,736, worldwide. It was directed by James Watkins, with a screenplay by Jane Goldman. This was the same talented lady who did writing work for Stardust, X-Men: First Class and The Debt. The film was based upon the scary Susan Hill novel of the same name.

The story follows a young lawyer, acted by Radcliffe, who circumstances lead to stay in the home of some locals in the English countryside in the Edwardian era. That’s why you saw photos circulating the web of the Harry Potter actor in that great old-fashioned attire. Eel Marsh House; however, is haunted by, you guessed it, The Woman in Black.

The sequel, called The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, will be directed by BAFTA nominee, Tom Harper, of The Scouting Book for Boys and The Borrowers.

The sequel will be produced by Exclusive Media, Talisman, Cross Creek Pictures and Alliance Films, with Roy Lee as Executive Producer. Screenwriter Jon Croker, who also wrote Desert Dancer, has completed the screenplay, also based on an original story by author Susan Hill.

The story in The Woman in Black: Angel of Death kicks off four decades after the original. I think its safe to say Radcliffe won’t be rejoining the cast, in that case. Eel Marsh House is still standing, having been seized by the government during World War II. The was displaces a group of evacuated children who wind up staying at the house, only to encounter The Woman in Black.

Simon Oakes, Vice-Chairman of Exclusive Media and President & CEO of Hammer Films said: “We are assembling a terrific team to bring The Woman in Black: Angel of Death to the big screen and Tom is a great addition to that family. His unique visual approach and storytelling style perfectly compliments the smart, sophisticated horror movies that Hammer is championing.”

Xavier Marchand Alliance Films’ President of Worldwide Distribution and Managing Director of UK distributor Momentum Pictures, said “We know audiences in the UK and across the world love being terrified by ‘The Woman in Black’ so we’re excited to be partners in bringing them the next episode of Susan Hill’s haunting story, under Tom’s expert direction.”

Director Tom Harper said, “I am thrilled to be a part of The Woman in Black: Angel of Death. This will be a great opportunity for me to collaborate with a brilliantly talented team on the next installment in this exciting series.”

The original Woman in Black film is considered one of the highest grossing British horror film of the past 20 years. It had an atmospheric and noteworthy soundtrack by Marco Beltrami.

In Eric Eisenberg’s review of the original detailed that the picture used “shadows and low light to create a sense of disorientation and panic. The house in which Arthur is working is filled with terrifying toys and porcelain dolls that aren’t scary by themselves, but do a brilliant job adding a creepy ambiance to every scene. Unfortunately, the movie does make heavy use of jump scares, which will effectively raise the audiences’ blood pressure, but feel cheap and phony in the aftermath.

He also said, “As a whole it’s an effective and creepy ghost story. …It may not elicit screams from everyone that goes to see it, but it is guaranteed to send chills down the spine of even the bravest viewer.”

New “Woman in Black” Sequel In Development

In case you thought the end of the film, The Woman In Black, was the end of the story, you were wrong. It was recently announced by Simon Oakes, Vice-Chairman of Exclusive Media and President & CEO of Hammer and Guy East and Nigel Sinclair, Co-Chairmen of Exclusive Media, Hammer’s parent company, that Hammer and Talisman are developing a new film, The Woman in Black: Angels Of Death, which will continue the story of The Woman in Black 40 years later.

The sequel, is also an adaptation of an original story created by the author, Susan Hill.

If you haven’t seen the film, you can read two reviews we have here, one detailing the horror aspect and the other an overall review.  The film and novel are set in the early 1900’s and features a young lawyer, played by Daniel Radcliffe in the film, as he heads to Eel Marsh House to settle paperwork but instead discovers the vengeful ghost known as the titular Woman In Black. The sequel is set forty years later when a couple experiences a haunting in the marsh house.

The Woman in Black: Angels Of Death is set to be brought to the big screen by the same production team behind last years film.  It will be produced by Exclusive Media, Talisman, Cross Creek Pictures and Alliance Films, in addition to Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment, who will serve as Executive Producer.
Simon Oakes, Vice-Chairman of Exclusive Media and President & CEO of Hammer Films said,

We are proud and honoured to be working with Susan again on ‘The Woman in Black: Angels Of Death,’ a wonderful new tale every bit as atmospheric and terrifying as its predecessor ‘The Woman in Black.’”

Nigel Sinclair Co-Chairman and CEO of Exclusive Media added:

It’s thrilling to be able to work with someone of Susan’s literary calibre on such a fascinating project. It’s also fantastic to have Jon on board again to help bring this new story to life on the big screen.”

There is no word yet regarding the full plot, or an anticipated release date. Normally, I am suspicious of sequels but considering this one is also written by the author of the first, and the same team is returning, it might be pretty good.

The Woman In Black: DanRad in Victorian Wear- A Review

Why are you interested in this adaptation?

Elena-

This movie is kind of a duh for me.

It is Harry Potter.  I want to see if he can actually, you know, do something besides wield a wand with great conviction and look by turns sullen and put-upon.

It is a ghost story that looks like it might actually be scary, not just jumpy or gory but actually creep you out scary.  Far too many of the horror movies out these days are either not creepy-scary or are so blood-soaked the terror is split between fear and disgust, which generally lessens the degree to which you feel either emotion.

Also it is a Victorian ghost story so…COSTUMES!
Rachel-

Harry Potter influence disclosure!!! Plus I really like ghost movies (The Others, anyone?). The film is based on a book of the same name by Susan Hill. It has already been adapted into a very successful and long-running play on London’s West End and I’ve heard from friends who have seen the play that it would probably make a better movie, but the play is still pretty good.

That’s… as good a recommendation as any, no?

Ok, so it’s Daniel Radcliffe in period costume. SHUT UP.

 


What would make it awesome?

Rachel-

This question makes no sense. Daniel Radcliffe in period costume. What the hell else do you want?

I’m going to assume that this is going to be a little old fashioned, British scary movie. Meaning that it isn’t gory as much as it is classically scary.

Elena-

If it’s scary and smart, with good acting, some artsy directing, and a nice ambiguous ending like the best ghost stories all have.  Oh, and if Dan wears a waistcoat with distinction!

Rachel-

I just want to say that whenever I hear the term “waistcoat” my brain always says, “Why don’t people just say VESTS?” I mean really… what do old timey people have against vests?

Elena-

But—but—but—it was an underCOAT! Worn to cover a man’s WAIST.  It makes PERFECT SENSE.  What is a vest?  It’s a shortening of vestment, I think?  So…a really short priest’s robe?  That’s even worse.

What would make it suck?

Rachel-

If the story is easily figured out, if DanRad is awful, if no one is wearing period costumes.

Elena-

If Daniel Radcliffe proves he has no acting abilities whatsoever.

If it goes stupid the way so many haunted house stories go stupid…I guess by that I mean if it’s totally predictable and full of people running up the stairs when they should be running out of the fucking house, etc.

If the theater is full of stupid tween DR fans who scream every time he shows up on screen.  This happened to one of my friends opening night.  It convinced me to wait to see the film a bit later on its theatrical run.

Thoughts on casting/production?

Rachel-

I have no idea who else is in this film. I think from the trailer that I’m supposed to accept that DanRad is a family man. That…is kind of dumb. He’s what? 18? (I know he’s older than that but give me a break, he’s not a FATHERLY person.)

Now I’m thinking about the HP epilogue, and it’s making me upset!

Elena-

Right?  That epilogue was just…sad.  Also I know Victorian gents of good morals probably married early (I mean how long is he gonna wait to dip the wick, amiright?), but I don’t think “early” meant…16.

Anyway, I’m excited to see what Harry can do out of Hogwarts.  I know this isn’t his first role in a non-HP film or anything, but it’s the first movie I’ve been interested in as a film to go see him in.  The other(s) he’s done just didn’t have an independent appeal, and while I like DR and wish him well and am curious about his career prospects, I just don’t feel any of those things strongly enough to go to a movie solely because he is in it.

Otherwise, I…really don’t know much about this movie.  I know it’s based on a book that was written in 1983, so not an ACTUAL Victorian ghost story (which might have been cooler, to be honest), just one set then.  I also don’t know much about the director or the studio even though everyone is talking about Hammer rising from the grave to make this film.  Um…okay.  This is where growing up under that rock becomes obvious, because…what’s Hammer studios?  Why do I care?  Right.  Where’s Harry Potter?

Reaction to film:

Rachel-

Delightfully old fashioned scary movie! It reminded me a lot of House on Haunted Hill (the old one) because it relied on suspense mixed with scary noises and the imagination of the audience to generate the majority of the scares.

It was definitely far stronger in the beginning than it was in the ending (the motivation of the Woman in Black wasn’t very satisfying for example) especially the 20-minute scene when DanRad spends the night for the first time in Eel Marsh House. I found myself jumping at every noise, peering into every shadow. It’s in the interaction with the inhabitants of the village and the ending that force me to give this one a B- rather than an A. The rich couple with the lost child confused me, I was convinced they were the sister and brother-in-law of the Woman in Black until I got home and looked it up on Wikipedia.  They weren’t, which kind of pissed me off because I just couldn’t figure out the whole “NEVER FORGIVE” twist of the film without it being a vengeance gig against at least ONE of the onscreen characters.

Stupid.

Poor DanRad, he worked so hard to “solve the mystery” and then just got smacked in the end. WRONG. Thanks for helping me out in the only way you could but I’m going to kill you anyways! “Never Forgive” except DanRad never did ANYTHING to you stupid dead cow! LEAVE DANRAD ALONE!!!!

Besides the ending, which is pretty much what happens in the book, I had a few other beefs with the film. Namely that DanRad’s character was kind of dumb. Really dumb. Like, take me to the lonely decaying mansion that is only accessible during low tide in this creepy village where all the children kill themselves, and I’ll just wander around said decaying mansion thinking I can see my dead wife and generally going INTO rooms where creepy noises come from, with a culmination of jumping into a gross marsh bog to retrieve a mummified corpse.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU DANRAD? JUST ALOHAMORA YOU’RE FUCKING WAY OUT OF THERE! RUN! GET OUT!

Is it that you can’t use the Internet yet in Ye Olde England or Scotland or wherever the fuck you are?

I CAN FIX THAT.

Here’s a telegram I could have sent you near the beginning of the film:


Here is one I could have sent after I peeled my hands off of my face and summoned up the courage to look at more of the screen than the bottom right corner while my boyfriend made fun of me – only to see you carry about a tar-covered child-mummy for a while which totally freaked me out and you should not have done that, but then it only got worse:

Here is the telegram I would have sent after the fiftieth time DanRad assured everyone that despite the hangings, and the possessed ladies, and the poisonings and the fires and the jumping to their deaths out of windows incidents involving the children of this town – that you are still having your toddler son come to visit you:

And finally, here is the telegram I would have sent to you at the end of the film, when that stupid whore of a ghost lady decided that despite all your hard work and effort and jumping into bogs that she in fact, did NOT appreciate you or feel at ease or placated or whatever it is that makes ghosts not stupid whores…and you wouldn’t have received it, but maybe that nice nanny who didn’t ask to be dragged to the evil possessed town and I hope she gets back to London OK, could read it for you:

 

Elena-

This turned out to be one of those movies that you like well enough when you first come out, but there’s a bit of confusion so you start talking about it with your friends, and the more you talk about it the more you realize the story is full of holes and doesn’t quite take you to where it was probably trying to.  And then come the inevitable comparisons to how the book set up the scenario, so why did they change this or that because it didn’t just make things more dramatic, it changed the whole implications of that part of the story, etc.

I mean, on the whole the movie wasn’t bad.  I enjoyed the very gothic feel of its visuals a lot.  The house was fucking perfect.  Daniel looked good in the waistcoat, and suitably gaunt and haunted in the way only a melancholic Victorian gentleman could.  I will go see him in more movies.  He still might not be enough of a lure on his own, but he will still be one point in a film’s favor if I am undecided.

There were parts of the movie that creeped me the fuck out.  I just…wish it had all been a little bit tighter in the motivations.  What I mean by this more than anything, I think, is that I had to suspend disbelief in a few too many places for the whole thing to seem credible.

I mean, I really wanted to send this telegram to the villagers:

This is the telegram I wanted to send to DanRad Kipps when he saw his dead wife for the twentieth time:

And why would the woman in black still go after Harry when he did his best to lay her ghost and give her back her child?  And how did she even know he had a kid to begin with to come after him away from the house?  It made more sense in the book, when he didn’t try to do anything for her, that she might come after him again later.  Here it was like…well, damn, you’re just the cuntiest ghost in Christendom, ain’t ya?

 All of this detracted from the chills and fuck-me jumps experienced during the actual viewing experience.

Rachel-

Here is where I think I’ll blame the stage production rather than the book. Because, honestly, if the kid had been mown down by a carriage and DanRad had lived to be a cranky old ghost-hunter in a VEST…well actually that would have been a good movie.

Nevermind.

Upcoming Adaptations for February 2012

February is definitely a slow month for the book adaptation world. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. It seems like everywhere you look a new book is being remade into a movie (or a show) and you might not always hear about them, even the good ones. So because every month there are new and exciting remakes of books into movies and television, we will try to keep you updated.

You can see their release dates for all the new upcoming remakes for February 2012.

 

February 3rd

The Woman in Black

Starring:

Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Liz White, Janet McTeer, Alisa Khazanova

It follows a smart young lawyer named Arthur Kipps who must travel to a remote and slightly deserted village and handle a deceased clients papers and files. However, as he toils over the work, he begins to unravel tragic secrets of the village and the client. This is accompanied by a mysteriously woman in black who he glimpses more and more. When he questions the locals he gets no answers. He is forced to set out on his own to figure out the true identity of the woman and stop her from her true intent.

Based on the novel of the same name by Susan Hill.

Big Miracle

Starring:

John Krasinski, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell.

Inspired by the true story that captured the hearts of people across the world, the rescue adventure ‘Big Miracle’ tells the amazing tale of a small town news reporter (John Krasinski) and a Greenpeace volunteer (Drew Barrymore) who are joined by rival world superpowers to save a family of majestic gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.

Based on the 1989 book Freeing the Whales by Tom Rose

 

February 17th

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Starring:

Nicolas Cage, Johnny Whitworth, Fergus Riordan, Ciaran Hinds, Violante Placido, Idris Elba, Christopher Lambert

Johnny is still struggling with his curse as the devil’s bounty hunter – but he may risk everything as he teams up with the leader of a group of rebel monks to save a young boy from the devil… and possibly rid himself of his curse forever.

Based on the Marvel Comics antihero Ghost Rider.

The Secret World of Arrietty

A 2010 Japanese animated fantasy film based on Mary Norton’s juvenile fantasy novel The Borrowers. The film was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, was written by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa, and stars the voices of Mirai Shida as the titular character, Ryunosuke Kamiki as Sho, and Tatsuya Fujiwara as Spiller. The film tells the story of Arrietty, a young Borrower who lives under the floorboards of a typical household. She eventually befriends Sho, a human boy with a heart condition since birth who is living with his great aunt Sadako. When Sadako’s maid Haru becomes suspicious of the floorboard’s disturbance, Arrietty and her family must escape detection, even if it means leaving their beloved home.

 

5 Reasons That Woman In Black Is Scary As Hell

On opening weekend, I went with my boyfriend to see the film, Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe. The movie is based on the novel of the same name written by Susan Hill. After watching the incredibly creepy trailers and covering it over here at Optionated, I really really wanted to see this movie. Watching scary movies is one of my favorite past-times and as scary as the movie looked from the previews, I knew I had to see it in theaters and not just 3 months from now in my apartment (which by the way, I am about 84% sure is haunted).

Overall, this was a pretty scary movie. I definitely did not disappoint. So here are the 5 reasons that Woman in Black was scary as hell.

:::::Warning there are some mild spoilers ahead::::

1. Creepy Kids

I have a pretty irrational fear of children, in most respects. They are tiny, with big eyes and a unique position to be taken over by ghosts (I.E. Poltergeist, Insidious, really any supernatural horror movie at some point during the plot.) So generally children in horror films, freak me out. this movie had an abundance of dead ghost children. Not to mention a dead muddy children rising from the marshes only to sneak into the house and finds its way to his bedroom to be even creepier there. One of the weirdest things about the children was the soulless look on their faces as they walked (or jumped, or burned, or drank lye) to their death. It was incredibly unsettling.

The unsettling stare of death in a child…. shiver.

Towards the end of the film, we got some great glimpses of all of the towns dead children just chillin’ following Arthur Kipps around, which would throughly freak me out if I was him. (Personally, At the first site of the titular woman’s eye in that spinning thing would have sent me running home).

2. Creepy Toys

This is a big one. Whoever the prop team was, did a freaking fantastic job making the house this film takes place in creepy. I don’t know why old toys always look weird and unsettling. I mean I can’t think of a better adjective than creepy for the toys that were prevalent during this time period. And whoever found (or made) the toys for this movie found he creepiest ones of all. From the oddly painted clowns to the dolls with teeth appearing to be filed down to look like a mouth full of fangs (and we can’t forget the incredibly racist african monkey toys).

All the toys in the movie were downright disconcerting. It made me wonder who the hell would play with these as a child and NOT get nightmares from the very sight of them?

Seriously… So weird.

It also didn’t help that they toys in the film would inexplicably move on their own and start moving. The cat playing the violin becoming sinister looking, the jovial clowns beating on their drums were all together terrifying. Even the racist african toys move and play on their own to create their own horrifying backdrop for a ghostly encounter.

3. Creepy Scream 

The titular Woman in Black was pretty scary. I will definitely admit that. Whoever did her makeup to look all dead and cracked and decaying did a phenomenal job. But it wasn’t her far that sent shivers down my spine, no it was her scream. As the film got going, and she wasn’t just a woman standing around, but now a thoroughly pissed off woman, she did this piercing scream that can only be described as a scream of death (pretty similar to a banshee the more I think about it).

Often it was almost complete silence when she let out her impish shriek of impending doom, which added to the terror affect. However, while it was scary (and I kept expecting it to occur in my apartment in the dark while I slept) it was more of a shock terror as opposed to an actual unsettling moment like other parts of the film.

 4. What You Don’t See Can Get You

There were several parts where the audience could only see something briefly, or barely. This technique is great because at the beginning you don’t really know who she is, what she wants, or where she is headed and that in itself is pretty scary. (This one of the reasons I love the Paranormal Activity series). This film really utilizes the “what you can’t see is what will get you” idea. Whether it is a wisp of black in a mirror during an uneventful scene, or an empty rocking chair that won’t stop rocking, I found myself clenching tightly in anticipation of what as about to happen, more so then what did happen (or in some cases didn’t happen). There was one scene where we see the woman heading for a sleeping Arthur but we don’t  see her so much as see darkness heading for him. She gets so close she can almost touch him before he wakes up and she is gone. But that tense scene doesn’t even feature a fully visible woman to scare, just the idea that she is heading his way while he is vulnerable.

She is barely visible in this scene but it was still terrifying. 

The great thing about this film was that, the filmmakers (and original story) didn’t have to rely on gore or cheesy setups to get scares out of the audience. It used a minimalist type of filmmaking for most of the first half and followed it up with the action shock scenes to bring the thrill home.

5. Darkness

I touched on this briefly in the section above, but the use of darkness in this film definitely added to its frightening moments. Having the character surrounded by darkness is always a goo technique because it forces the audience to feel the disorienting emotions of the scene right along with the character. This whole movie (almost) is shot in a dark house. Before the days of electricity. Yes, he lights like a million candles but those only give off light in like a 5 foot radius. Most scenes that takes place in the house are well lit in the front wherever the character is but the darkening background houses no light and no salvation (and often the woman just chillaxing watching Arthur in a slightly voyeur type of way.)

This scene is super dark, it is hard to tell what anything is other than himself.

Other than the darkly lit world this film takes place in, the film also uses darkness in another way. Obviously in portraying the woman in black. She is always in black and she is often just scene surrounded in by darkness. She also makes herself known to the audience by either just being a blur of black or a by blending into the shadows just to move and you realize she has been there the whole time. This is one of the best types of scares in the film. Where the audience and Arthur think they are safe or its an uneventful moment until you see a shift in the shadows behind him and realize that the woman has been watching him (and it kind of feels like she is watching you too) the whole time.

Over all this movie was pretty good. It definitely got some good jumps out of me (and my boyfriend). Even with the cheesy not book accurate ending, the movie still got a 4 out of 5 stars from me (this is partly due to the cutest dogs wearing sailor suits… seriously it was gold).

Daniel Radcliffe Talks The Woman In Black

Woman in Black anticipators (such as myself) will not want to miss this behind-the-scenes featurette that was recently released. In the clip, star of the film, Daniel Radcliffe discusses the film as well as the motivation behind his character. If you weren’t interested in this film before, you will be after watching this clip.  Continue reading