The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death(2015)
- RatedPG13 /GenreDrama, Horror, Thriller
When Daniel Radcliffe took to the screens for 2012’s ‘The Woman in Black’, most people were talking about what to expect from a guy who had spent a decade playing a bespectacled, flustered boy who seemed to have a knack for running into trouble (we’re talking about Harry Potter here, of course).
Ten years of playing a mostly distraught boy with supernatural powers would surely make him a shoo-in for the lead role of a widowed lawyer, Arthur Kipps, who has to face supernatural forces in a haunted house.
Indeed, ‘The Woman in Black’ was well-received, and the sequel begins 40 years after Kipps battled the vengeful ghost in black haunting Eel Marsh manor and killing children.
Kipps is no longer there, and without the presence of a strong lead anchoring the show, the sequel has nothing much to hang on to apart from the outstanding and atmospheric visuals of the location.
Yes, Eel Marsh manor still stands. And this time, it becomes a refuge during World War II for orphaned children.
The movie opens with scenes of petrified school children being evacuated to the English countryside, while bombs drop over London.
The manor and its surroundings may look forsaken and desolate, but to the group of children and their caretaker-teacher (Phoebe Fox), it is a place of temporary safety.
The orphans later find a lamb bleating in agony, stuck in a tangle of barbed wire. The fair amount of camera focus on the creature signals at what is to come – they are the new sacrificial lambs to the slaughter.
This initial allegory seems promising, but the movie meanders from there, until you realise that director Tom Harper (the man behind ‘This is England’ and British gangster series ‘Peaky Blinders’ starring Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy) has more interest in giving you exasperatingly predictable horror tropes that involve jump-scares, flickering lights and locked doors that offer no explanation of any sort.
The only moment of genuine unease you feel is when the children start praying as a group for their souls to be saved from the blistering war as their teacher looks on bleakly.
The immediate terror is obviously nearer them in the house. The vengeful spirit in black (Leanne Best) has taken to tormenting one of the orphaned boys, a mute called Edward (Oaklee Pendergast).
Who knows how old the boy’s soul is, but he definitely excelled in the part of a meek but petrified young chap. If there is a performance in the movie that you will remember, it will be his.
After more than an hour in, the story finally picks up in the last 30 minutes or so as children disappear, and the teacher chases every hooded figure she sees and beseeches for the horror to stop, while you find yourself subconsciously predicting every other ‘Boo!’ moment that would come up.
Then it ends all very quickly, with the unnecessary hint that yet another sequel may be coming up. This is really not worth the time in the dark, and definitely not for those who went to watch the first movie because of Radcliffe.