Tagline: Do you believe in ghosts?
Based on the novel of the same name by Susan Hill, The Woman in Black is an atmospheric supernatural horror movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. The movie follows a young, widowed solicitor, named Arthur Kipps and details his encounter with a vengeful spirit.
In the film, Arthur is sent to a remote English village, to tie-up some affairs at Eel Marsh House – a property which is due to be sold. When he arrives, he finds the villagers are none too pleased to see him, and are keen for him to leave. But the hostility of the villagers is nothing when compared to the hostility he uncovers at the house, leading to a grim and frightening encounter with a mysterious woman in black.
The Woman in Black is a very tense, wonderfully written, and perfectly paced picture. This is a movie which is told through strong visuals, including some deliciously desolate shots of the English landscape, and is infused with a deep sense of foreboding. Throughout the picture, the horror is slowly teased, becoming more frequent as the story progresses, and at all times there is a feeling that someone or something is lingering in the background. It is simply a superb movie.
The Woman in Black is also a remarkably scary movie, and I use the word remarkably, because in the UK The Woman in Black was released into cinemas in 2012 carrying a 12A certificate. For a film which is this frightening, a 12A certificate is rather unusual.
For those unfamiliar with UK certifications, a 12A means the movie can be watched by anyone aged 12 or above. It can also be watched by anyone below the age of 12, but they must be accompanied by an adult. In terms of the UK rating system, a 12A falls in between a PG and a 15, meaning it contains material that might not be suitable for general audiences, but isn’t too extreme that it warrants a 15 classification.
When The Woman in Black was submitted to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) ahead of its release in 2012, the BBFC spent a considerable amount of time deciding what certificate to award the film. The filmmakers had requested a 12A, however, the BBFC felt that due to its tone and content, the picture sat on the border between a 12A and a 15.
To move it firmly into the 12A category, the BBFC asked director James Watkins to trim six seconds of footage from the film, and make some slight tweaks to the lighting and sound effects. These minor adjustments were made and when The Woman in Black was resubmitted for classification, the movie was granted the 12A certificate.
But tweaks aside, the content of the film still sat at the top end of the 12A category, and this meant those who sat down in the cinema to watch it in 2012 and those who watch the 12A version today (it has been re-released as a 15 too), are often surprised at just how scary it is.
The Woman in Black pushes firmly against the confines of its classification, and just like the spectre that haunts Arthur Kipps in the film, it is forever catching audiences off guard.
Arthur Kipps – “You don’t believe me, do you?”
Daily – “I believe even the most rational mind can play tricks in the dark.”
Cast and crew
The Woman in Black is directed by James Watkins, produced by Richard Jackson, Simon Oakes, and Brian Oliver, and based on a screenplay by Jane Goldman. Music is composed by Marco Beltrami. The cast includes Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer, Liz White, Roger Allam, Tim McMullan, and Mary Stockley.
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this spotlight post focusing on a must-see horror movie. This ‘spotlight’ on The Woman in Black is one post in a series of ten posts looking at superb horror movies and shorts which you may or may not have seen.
Other posts in this series include: Suspiria (1977), The Strange Thing About the Johnsons (2011), Don’t Look Now (1973), Psycho (1960), The Omen (1976), The Blair Witch Project (1999), The ‘Burbs (1989), Lights Out (2013), and Bone Tomahawk (2015).
The aim is to spread some horror love around the internet, and possibly introduce you to a slice of horror that you may have overlooked. So, make sure to add this movie to your next horror movie marathon – you won’t regret it!
And for more horror-related content, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.