Woman in Black
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August 8, 2000
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After a lonely widow dies, a young lawyer is assigned to look after her estate. When he arrives in the small town of Crythin, he finds that few of the townspeople will have anything to do with him or his work, and keeps seeing a mysterious woman in black. Eventually he begins to investigate the strange history of the town and becomes ensnared in its horror. A genuinely frightening tale with lots of creepy scares.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.75 x 5.75 x 0.53 inches; 4 Ounces
- Director : Herbert Wise
- Media Format : Color, NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 40 minutes
- Release date : August 8, 2000
- Actors : Adrian Rawlins, Bernard Hepton, David Daker, Pauline Moran, David Ryall
- Producers : Chris Burt, Ted Childs
- Studio : Bfs Entertainment
- ASIN : B00004UEEU
- Writers : Nigel Kneale, Susan Hill
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #165,185 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I'm impressed by the way eel marsh house must have been inspired by the French Island of Mont Saint-Michel, which in olden days was also accessible only by a muddy causeway and subject to the treacherous nature of the tides.
Although this is a low budget film, it still succeeds by leaps and bounds over the 2012 Daniel Radcliffe/Ciarán Hinds production, which is rife with unnecessary and overused contrivances, particularly the depiction of Mrs. Daly who "channels" the spirit of her dead son and the scene wherein the body of the dead boy is pulled out of the mud in an attempt to finally put his soul at rest.
The advantages of modern technology to provide a convincing atmosphere of gloom and horror are wasted and mired in the plots predictable manner of depicting the tragedies wrought by the vengeful spirits and the attempts to placate them; it's as if the script was taken from passages of "How to Deal With Evil Spirits 101".
This earlier version treats the Susan Hill novella as the author herself might have intended, by focusing on the most vital aspects of the storyline with only minor embellishments.
One of the most frightening scenes is that of the evil spirit manifesting herself on the surface of the lake where Kipps' family is drowned.
In this scene we see her only at a distance, but the visual effect is riveting; very similar to the scene in "The Innocents" (Deborah Kerr) wherein the dead governess appears in the very distant clump of marsh reeds.
This technique straddles the emotional boundaries of what is implied and what is depicted which very effectively provides the stimuli to evoke a true sense of menace and horror.
Although there are other deceptively simple techniques sprinkled throughout the film, they provide maximum effect in creating a profoundly horrific psychological effect.
There are only a handful of quality ghost stories on video such as THE CHANGELING, THE OTHERS, and THE UNINVITED (1944 version). They are not for everyone and never have been. I find it amusing to read reviews that criticize this film and others like it for not being scary. It all depends on what you're looking for. If you want blood and guts then go elsewhere and please, read the description of something before you watch it.
The story is taken from a novel of the same name by Susan Hill. It concerns a young lawyer who becomes haunted by a vengeful spirit while trying to close out an estate. The house used in the film plus the marsh setting are as much characters as are any of the principal humans. The acting, photography, and the screenplay by Nigel Kneale (creator of QUATERMASS) are all first rate. Only the music which occasionally borrows from PSYCHO is less than stellar.
As I said at the beginning, THE WOMAN IN BLACK is one of my litmus tests. Not only for ghost stories on video, but also as a somewhat arbitrary judge of character. Not liking this movie or being affected by it doesn't make you a bad person in any way but if you do like it then it means that you and I are of a similar mind and that we would get along famously.
POSTSCRIPT: This film is being remade by the recently reborn Hammer Films and will star Daniel Radcliffe in his first major post-HARRY POTTER adult role. Release date is scheduled to be February 2012.
It is set in a remote seacoast village in England,complete with dense fog and an old house...an excellent combo to begin with!
Because it is a British movie,and therefore generally low-key,those of you who like your terror fast-paced and bloody might not find this movie to your liking.However,if you have been scared out of your wits by "The Haunting," then you will absolutely be in love with this movie.
I won't give anything away,but there is one scene in particular that will positively make you jump,and scream.Really well done!!!
I highly recommend that you NOT watch this alone,in a dark room.Seriously..Enjoy!!!
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WAS IT ORIGINALLY THE TV VERSION?