Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Woman in Black (2012)

The weather was perfectly moody for my trip to the theater on Saturday to catch the Woman in Black. It was as if the TV movie gods were beckoning the same gloomy atmosphere from the 1989 version, and I was pleased as we drove down the long winding roads to the most remote theater in the world. I have said this before, I tend to hate most remakes, but love the idea of a small screen film getting a chance to play with the big boys. So many TVMs are legitimately obscure and deserve a chance to get a little notice. As far as I know, the 1989 version was pretty popular in England but did not fare as well here in the States, where it remains more elusive. It’s still built up a pretty good reputation, thanks to TVM nuts like me who keep spreading the word on our favorite small screen classics. As far as that version goes, it’s a pretty perfect little exercise in atmosphere and tragedy. I figured the new theatrical reboot might Hollywoodize the whole endeavor a bit, but I was ready for a little mainstream injection if it meant some attention would come to the original. As it would turn out, the remake would surpass any hopes I had for it, and I have to say, I simply adored the new Woman in Black.

Again, I’m at a crossroads. I don’t want to say too much because I went into the movie blind (well, I did rewatch the original, but I surpassed any opportunity I had to look into the new one aside from the trailer), and I think the less you know about it, the more fun you will have. Here’s what I will say:

Daniel Radcliffe was perfectly cast as the tragic lead. His sad eyes conveyed so much feeling that dialog was almost not needed. And indeed, he carried the film gracefully just on those emotions.

Much of the film has stayed the same, although there are also several noticeable differences. You will see what I mean when you see it. I think some of the choices they made were fantastic. There was one moment where I said, “Really?!?” but they took what I thought would be something silly and made it work.

The original and this version ooze atmosphere. There are marshes, fog and that creepy Eel Marsh House to keep the goosebumps raised. The set design is amazing and if creepy dolls are your thing, you will not be disappointed.

I loved this movie.

It turns out the new Woman in Black exceeded most expectations and pulled in a good turn at the box office. I hope this encourages the studios to start looking at the small screen for a little creepy inspiration. And I hope everyone tries to get their creep-on in the theater.

And you can read more reviews at Kindertrauma and at Enjoy!


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