I have to admit that I was quite looking forward to seeing Woman in Black; it was Daniel Radcliffe's first film after completing the Harry Potter series and according to Momentum it had already had the biggest opening weekend of the year. Granted it was still only mid way through February but nevertheless it sounded like a good sign.
The Woman in Black tells the story of Arthur Kipps played by Radcliffe who after becoming widowed when his wife died in labour, is struggling financially. The lawyer is sent to a remote village to organise the documents contained in the large annexed house of a recently deceased woman. When he arrives it becomes evident that the village contains a suspicious secret and his presence in the house is not wanted. After befriending Sam Daily a wealthy landowner and discovering documents in the house Kipps pieces together that The Woman in Black is a mother agonized ever since the death of her son, who was taken away from her before his death. Ever since she has been haunting the village and seeking vengeance by controlling the village children to kill themselves in a series of grizzly murders.
Finally after discovering that his own son is coming to meet him in the village, Arthur with Sam's help dig up the grave of both the Woman in Black herself and her son to reunite the pair in hopes she will stop murdering children in the village. In the final scene we see the Woman in Black make Arthur's son walk onto a train track in the path of an oncoming speeding train. Arthur jumps onto the platform to save his son however it is too late and the pair both die. We then see the whole family reunited together in the afterlife including Arthur's wife Stella.
To sum up my main problem with the film I would say that it is undoubtedly clichéd. Form the outset we are constantly shown dark and creepy images of children's toys and dolls. And the majority of the time throughout the entire film it seems that the scene is being built up for a moment of shock aiming to make the audience jump out of their seats.
The images of the tormented children themselves are also terribly clichéd. They are shown in Victorian dress with pale faces, long distressed hair and hallowed eyes. And the notion of a haunting figure unable to settle in the afterlife due to being wronged before their death is again not a new one.
I also found it difficult to believe Daniel Radcliffe was of fathering age and a fully qualified lawyer, deeply troubled and mourning his late wife. Although for the time the story is set he is of age for these accomplishments, for me it just didn't seem all that truthful.
Undoubtedly I would say the film is aimed at the younger audience. It managed to secure a 12A rating which I thought was a bit too young for a horror film, although it never really showed anything grizzly it just had tons of suspense and jumpy moments. It would suit fans of Daniel Radcliffe from Harry Potter who want to follow his next professional move.
Overall I think the majority of themes shown within the film are what makes it clichéd, however one man's clichéd is another's classic horror so I encourage you to go see the film yourself to make up your own minds.
On a side note, the digital marketing also really played to this film's 12A rating. Relying heavily on gimmicky and frightening apps and simple games on the domestic site as well as a supporting Tumblr page and a tie in with GetGlue. I don't really like scary things so I may not be doing a blog post on that one, but we'll see...