Friday, January 9, 2015

Hammer Time: The Woman in Black (2012)

Yes, I am only doing this since a Sequel is in Theaters.  Should I deny it?  The Woman in Black is a 1989 TV Movie in...oh right, this one.  The Woman in Black is a 2012 Film by about 15 Production Companies, but most notably the new Hammer.  I guess it is fitting for them to do a British Film, even if they are no longer a British Company.  In this Film, a young man goes to a remote location to close out an Estate for his company.  However, the area is rife with superstition and tragedy.  Can he survive to end the curse?  Will his son be the next victim?  As I noted in the previous review, the Star of the 1989 Version was the same guy who would play Harry Potter's Dad in the big Films.  In this Version, it is Harry Potter himself- Daniel Radcliffe.  There's been a couple years now, so let's see if some separation does the Film harm or good?  To find out, read on...
The Film begins with 3 kids killing themselves (off-camera, of course) as a dark spirit looks on.

Compared to the Original one, this begins with all the subtlety of a shotgun blast to the face!
In both Versions, he's sent out to the boonies to clear up the clutter and paperwork of a woman's estate so his Employers can close it out for an Estate Sale.  The Dracula comparisons are in both.
In this Version, the Estate sure is far away.  I mean, wow...that sure is far away.
In the nearby Village, Radcliffe learns that the deaths of many children has occurred recently.  It affects them pretty badly, to say the least.
Compared to all of the subtle moments with sound effects and implied terror, the 2012 Version is...less 1,000,000.
Radcliffe continues to investigate and learns that the titular Woman in Black lost her child in the nearby marshes and takes the children as her twisted revenge.  He has to find that kid!
When he gets back to town, he finds a building on fire with a kid trapped inside.  Things...don't go well.
A desperate Radcliffe risks life and limb to try and recover the body from the marsh.  Can he?
More importantly, will this mark the end of the killings?  Will The Woman in Black rest in peace?

Well, they just made a Sequel...but that's all I'll say.  The End. isn't bad.  Honestly, I didn't go into this with much of a surprise.  After all, I did watch the same Story (sort of) already once last year.  Having said that, it was still pretty good.  The Film is doing a good job when it is quiet and you can just enjoy the mood/setting.  The 1989 Version is dull at times, but its best points were still lost here.  In that one, he hears the sounds of a carriage accident in the fog.  It works so well because you know it isn't real and you just imagine how bad it must look.  In this one, he goes out and sees it.  They do a good enough job with it, but...maybe let that one go.  While you're at it, maybe I don't need to see the ghosts of the children several times.  It is an eerie effect, but they could have just as easily been shadows or not been there at all.  It reminds me of the comparisons made between the original Haunting and the 1999 Remake (Starring Liam Neeson- now in Taken 3, opening today).  One implied great terror effectively, while the other...showed off CG Effects and nothing more.  Another comparison might be made between the original Amityville Horror and the 2004 Remake.  All of the implied terror was made into implicit, CG silliness.  It wasn't all bad, but the new bits were not improvements.  That is mostly the case here.  The Film will definitely work more for younger, more modern viewers than the Original one.  There are some major changes- like the wife being dead from the beginning- that make it feel less like a glossy Update (a la Gus Van Sant's Psycho), but it is still...just alright for me.  Sorry, Harry.
Next up, I finally get around to watching a Film given to me months ago.  With a Starlet, a Comedienne and 1,000 songs, this should be...something.  Stay tuned...

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