THE WOMAN IN BLACK – Blu-Ray Review

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 22nd, 2012

In THE WOMAN IN BLACK, from director James Watkins, young lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) travels to a remote village to sort through the papers of a recently deceased client. When the locals regard him with fear and hatred, he unearths the dark history of the house and the vengeful spirit that still plagues the town. As tensions build and time begins to run out, Kipps is left to search for a way to end the haunting and put the spirit to rest.

Radcliffe is likeable as the young lawyer, even if it is hard to distance him from his Harry Potter fame, and holds his own as a leading man once again. The rest of the cast performs equally well and add to the building spookiness and sense of inevitable doom. The film holds true to the its origins as a stage play and that seems to be the reason for many of its critiques; The pacing gets weighed down by a surprising amount of walking up and down staircases and back and forth through long (albeit haunted) hallways. It’s likely that some may see the plot as offering little else from the traditional ghost story.

Despite the old-fashioned tones of the plot, the black-clad woman and the creaky, isolated house lose none of their effectiveness as they are utilized to their full, creepy potential. The tension builds throughout, making the slow pacing fantastically tense—even if it is slightly overplayed at times. The unsettling, grim ambiance only adds to the scares and chills, and the quality of the movie keeps it enjoyable for those looking for an alternative to the gore-filled horror movies that often grace today’s silver screens.

Video: THE WOMAN IN BLACK is delivered in 1080p HD with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The film has a great gritty, gloomy tone that is no less unnerving than it was on the big screen.

Audio: Sound is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, and Spanish.

Kristen Micek