History of The Woman in Black (i.e. the lore of the previous film):
Cast/Crew: Directed by Tom Harper, starring Phoebe Fox as the headmistress, Eve Parkins.
Trivia: Dr. Rhodes in this film is played by Adrian Rawlins, who played the protagonist (Arthur Kidd) in the 1989 TV adaptation of The Woman in Black. (He also played Harry Potter’s father!)
Plot: During the Blitz of WW2 in London, Ms Parkins evacuates schoolchildren to Crythin Gifford, and are put up in the Eel Marsh House, the derelict home of The Woman In Black. They don’t appear to be alone.
• The set is suitably and convincingly dressed for the 1940s; the schoolchildren have flat caps and tatty attire. Having a horror film with 1940s schoolchildren is a bit hilarious.
• Directly above the ‘main’ orphan Edward’s bed is a hole in the ceiling. Ah man, rough bananas. Why is he the main orphan? The trauma of just losing his parents during the blitz has made him mute, he communicates by writing and drawing. The woman in black has singled him out.
• Exposition is done by lucid dreaming sequences and simply verbally recounting events.
• Don’t let the cool poster fool you! All this film has to offer is tons of cheap ‘bang’ scares; people suddenly appearing, creepy weathered dolls etc. Are you staring at the ceiling? I’ve got a scary mask and shout! Crow caws while flying right past a window. Real lowest common denominator stuff. I’m not sure how some of this stuff works in kayfabe though…like the Woman in Black appearing hanging/screaming behind Ms Parkins, but is invisible/inaudible to her. (ie it’s a jump scare for us) But in the film, for what purpose is the ghost doing it?
• Dashing handsome love interest for Ms Parkins is army pilot Lord Flashheart, I mean Harry Burnstow, making those two the only ‘fertile’ aged characters in the film. He’s also metaphorically haunted by deaths making him a wounded but fixable man (i.e. pure bloody girl-bait!)
• The Woman in Black’s MO is to haunt the house, go bump in the night, scare kids with the aim of influencing them mentally to kill themselves. She’s not particularly happy about Eve having given her baby up for adoption too (mentioned early into the movie). The methods of which the children (un)successfully try kill themselves is the strong point of the film.
• Something I always appreciate, someone saying “Oh God, let’s just get the fuck out of here!” when paranormal happenings occur. Something you’d only really see in wartime, they use fighter planes flying overhead as a way to force everyone into the cellar. That’s great stuff.
• Everything’s so bloody dark, which would be the case in an abandoned house, and also in countryside 1940s. Hilariously, their one source of light (a candle) blows out and they have to strike matches to light it (giving the ‘I’m in the background scares’), and only when it’s lit does the Pilot whip out a HUGE BATTERY-POWERED TORCH! Cheers.
• I’m thinking the best way to combat the influence of the Woman in Black would be to have all the kids hold hands during a scare scene and close their eyes; everyone in the same room and adults block the exits. They actually do pretty much all that in the film, so woohoo!
OVERALL: What a lazy film. It’s my fault for watching it – the problems of the first film plague the second. It’s like someone who has no respect for horror films made one (here’s some freaky old-timey broken toys, relying entirely on cheap jump scares etc). Avoid!
Link to the 2012 The Woman In Black review: OSWreview.com/media/movie-the-woman-in-black