The Woman in Black Reviews
Schooled in the art of the quiet boo, Mr. Watkins fills the film with squeaking doors and floorboards, pools of black, long silences and an assortment of moldering toys.
Watkins knows how to make a body jump out of its skin, even if he does use the face-reflected-in-the-mirror/window trick once too often. At the same time, the film is kind of, well, silly.
The director, James Watkins, appears to have studied other movies' bumps in the night and accepted the real estate and clammy skin loaned to him by the Hammer studios, which, not incidentally, receive a production credit.
Though Radcliffe is our eyes and ears, he rarely speaks. It's not easy to carry an entire film in which your job is primarily to react, but he handles the task with impressive confidence.
The landscape is dire, the architecture is haunted, children disappear by the dozens and antique toys inexplicably spark to life. That Mr. Radcliffe doesn't is part of the problem.
Fittingly for the first film shot in England in 35 years to bear the Hammer banner, The Woman in Black competently resurrects that hoariest of horror-movie conceits, the haunted house.