Sunday, July 8, 2012

¡Qué horror! 2012
Candidate # 21

(February 2012)

If you’re in the mood for some old school ghost story hijinx, you can’t really go wrong with James Watkins’ The Woman in Black.
Adapted from Susan Hill’s novel by she-of-the-flaming-red hair, Mrs. Jonathan Ross, Jane Goldman--who, as frequent Matthew Vaughn collaborator, has also adapted Neil Gaiman (Stardust) and Mark Millar (Kick-Ass), and brought the X-Men back to the swinging 60’s (X-Men: First Class)--this one has got a decrepit mansion surrounded by a vast, mucky marsh, suitably saddled with the unbearably charming name of “Eel Marsh House.” It’s a rotting domicile dominated by a black-garbed ghost, and chockful of cobwebs, creepy kids’ toys, and a rocking chair.
What more could you ask for in any self-respecting haunted house?

Sure, poor old Harry Potter (actually, Daniel Radcliffe, in period 'cut and garb) has no business galumphing around Eel Marsh House when he should be working, what, with his job in jeopardy, and yes, that damned dog disappears conveniently enough when he’s not needed to bark at unseen ghostly apparitions, but the creeps and the scares are so finely tuned, one can choose to overlook these slights.
The fact that this is such a different kind of film from Watkins’ feature debut, past ¡Qué Horror! title, Eden Lake, is simply another reason why this gets on this year’s Candidate List…

(The Woman in Black OS’ courtesy of

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