The boy who lived. I’ve got to be honest. Had this movie didn’t heavily promoted Daniel Radcliffe, fresh from his Potter days, I would have a comparably smaller interest and would have probably checking the movie on a very last minute when I have nothing else on my agenda. Assuming of course, that I have an agenda (I don’t) and I have something to do (I usually don’t). But hey, horror movies aren’t really my cup of tea in the first place anyway.
“The Women in Black” has all the correct ingredients for a medieval gothic ghost story. A secluded, abandoned mansion in a middle of a moor where the only road that leads to and from is subject to sea tides, and an ominous history revolving around its titular character that involves the case of many missing or dead children. One has to wonder why the town folks still chose to live within the proximity of the mansion when the fact is already clear. Something is not right, something walks in the dead of the night, and on its wake, Death awaits.
The movie’s second act was actually pretty effective. This is where Daniel Radcliffe had the camera mostly to himself as he strolls in and around the aforementioned spooky mansion. You know how it is, even if you are in a room, alone, and your parents are downstairs, and suddenly the lights went out, the shadows are always moving. And it is quite obvious that this was one of such case, except that the shadows aren’t the only ones that move, and it is foolish to think that they are actually shadows. The scares that follows, even if most of the time they came cheaply (accentuated by a proper music and sounds, “boo” scenes, and a crafty, if not clever camera placements), is quite good. Probably not the scariest stuff that I’ve ever seen, but close enough. It does, however, takes away the attention from Mr.Radcliffe as the audiences were, most of the time driven to anticipate what lurks in the corner rather than the delivery of his craft. But all in all, I think it was still a fun time. If, that is, your idea of fun is getting surprised by a sudden appearance of a scary looking old woman. Among others.
Just like any story involving ghosts, or supernatural beings, the story doesn’t have to make sense. In fact, I could slightly appreciate the movie a bit more because it doesn’t try to rationalized things. I remember thinking during the movie that yeah, if all fictions were to try to make sense, there won’t be any good fictions. For me, part of enjoying a fiction is by getting involved, directly or otherwise, with my very own imagination. And although I wouldn’t be so quickly to give a praise to this movie, at the very least, it doesn’t try to shove its version of truth down my throat which in turn would ruins my own invested imagination. And that, in my book, is one step closer down the right path. The movie’s ending is quite good as well, because it’s bittersweet. May not strike a good chord to others, but for all it’s worth, I’m really satisfied with the ending.
In the end, the movie benefited more with its smart decision to cast and put Mr.Radcliffe on its front line banner. I couldn’t vouch more confidently with how this movie would affect Mr.Radcliffe’s career choices in the future, one thing was clear. The movie would fare significantly worse had it not featuring Mr.Radcliffe fresh out his Potter days.