Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


The Woman In Black (2012) UK

Believe it or not, there are some movies that I really REA
LLY hope I like. This was one of them. After all, we have a grown up Daniel Radcliffe who basically gave up his whole childhood so we could have all those Harry Potter movies. But looking at this movie - yikes. Plus I'm not paid to be nice. Wait a minute, I'm not being paid at all. Why am I here? <shakes head> Sorry, forgot that this is what I do 'cause I love it. so before I get into the movie, let me tell you why this was pretty much doomed from the start.

Let's start with the first problem - it's a remake of a British TV movie. Natch. What movie ISN'T these days? In 1989 TWIB got a bit of a rewrite treatment, changing events, names and generally doing things that film makers usually do. That seriously pissed off the writer of the book, Susan Hill. But it got made anyway, with all the changes intact. It was called an 'unexpected success'. All right, the changes worked. So they decide to remake it - changing the changes. Oh geez. AND they were going to film it in 3D. Fortunately that was ONE change they didn't do.

This is Daniel Radcliffe's first big-boy role. No, I'm not really making fun of him, it was a kick to watch him grow up through those movies, it's just a shock to see him go from boy wizard to adult widower. Whose about to have a very nasty experience and no magic to help him out. He's about to be subjected to a remade remake of a revised TV movie version of a book of a lady who's lost the rights to it by now and is probably kicking herself for letting it go... <takes deep breath> and this is why this is the most depressing movie I've seen in quite a while:

We start with a Victorian-looking playroom where three little girls are playing 'tea party'. Suddenly they stop. All three stand up, walk to the windows (which conveniently there are three of) and fling themselves out in a mutual suicide. There is a woman standing in the corner, watching. We then hear screaming. Oh this is really depressing the hell out of me already.

Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is a solicitor (that's lawyer to us) whose boss is pretty much telling him if he doesn't start bringing in more money and getting more done, he's finished. This is devastating to him because he is a single father, his wife having died in childbirth. The music to this movie is appropriately depressing too - one almost expects Mozart's 'Requiem' to start playing. So this sad man must leave his son with a nanny and go to sell a house whose owner has just died. A nice local couple who lost their son to drowning (PLOT POINT!) let him stay with them since he does not want to stay in the house.

Aaaaaand it gets even more depressing. Apparently Arthur being in the house (they don't say this happened with the previous owner) has pissed off what the people of Eel Marsh call the 'woman in black' - a ghost of a woman who killed herself after her child died in an accident. Are we seeing the pattern of things to come kiddies? 'Cause my worksheet is filled up and done.

Sure enough, because the WIB is 'awake' Arthur hears stuff and sees stuff and decides to report the stuff and while he's there three kids walk in, two brothers carrying their sister who for whatever reason has consumed lye. That is a NASTY way to go - kind of like drinking bleach, ammonia, or both. He takes the girl and screams for help but she dies in his arms and now the town is blaming him. After all, he's a stranger, he showed up, now a kid is dead. His fault, obviously. Sheesh.

So now you know pretty much the whole movie. He's running around trying to find answers and kids are offing themselves left and right - with the whole town wanting to lynch Arthur for it. Oh this is fun. But wait, we get backstory. Very, very depressing backstory. There were two sisters, one thought the other was unfit to raise her own son and so took him away from her. 

While crossing the marshes, they started to sink (DUH) and that's how the boy drowned. The mother accused her sister of only saving herself when she could have easily saved the boy too. After she sends the letter, she hangs herself and the town's fun begins.

Now that Arthur knows the story, he sees out in the marsh a large group of the ghosts of children, all having died as the WIB gets her revenge. So Arthur is determined to find the boy (the spot is marked by a wooden cross) and using a car with a rope attached to the bumper he goes through the muck (very brave of Daniel to get in that muck, much less go under into it) and finds the body of the boy - still pretty much intact but I guess a rotting, falling apart corpse would be too much for this old fashioned, English ghost tale and they wanted to keep their PG-13 rating.

In the meantime children keep dying and now his time is running out as his son and nanny are due to arrive to meet him the next day and he can't get a telegram to them to stop them. Breaking into the mother's grave he puts the body of her son with her. Now everything's okay, right?

Is it ever? Arthur meets son and nanny at the station, telling them they're going right back to London. Then we get the movie DUH that I guess has to happen to keep this going. Arthur lets go of his son's hand while talking with the man he had stayed with. He then sees the woman in black on the other side of the tracks and his son walking blithely on the rails. He jumps down and grabs his son and leaps out of the way...

Not. Arthur opens his eyes but there's no people, no train. His boy asks 'Who is that?' and Arthur looks to see his deceased wife waiting for them. They walk off to... wherever as the WIB watches. How. Utterly. Depressing. But the movie makers are gonna make it worse - a sequel is in the works - Woman In Black: Angels Of Death. If it were called Woman In Black - Arthur Kicks Her Ass And With His Wand Turns Her Into A Toad I might watch it. Might.