In the end, The Woman in Black displays a higher regard for the material makeup of gruesome-looking Victorian dolls than it does for the psychological turmoil of its characters, making one wish that some of the money it budgeted for cranes and fog machines had been offered to a script doctor.
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Subtlety may not be Watkins' strong suit, but he knows how to frame a scene for maximum tension and dread.
Without Radcliffe at the center looking scared out of his wits, The Woman In Black would seem even slighter than it already does.
Helmer James Watkins ("Eden Lake") and scripter Jane Goldman judiciously combine moves from the classic scare-'em-ups with new tricks from recent J-horror pictures to retell Susan Hill's oft-adapted Victorian gothic pastiche.
Less gore is more here, and what a relief. The Woman in Black isn't especially scary, but it keeps you on edge, and without the usual vivisectionist imagery.
The film is wonderfully atmospheric and full of little frights, but its overall impact is only glancing.
The film, a handsome nerve-jangler co-produced under the storied Hammer horror banner, amps up the scares without turning them into something completely stupid. Success!
In his first starring role post-Harry Potter, Radcliffe must carry the movie with little dialogue and practically nothing to play other than fear, constantly reacting to creepy toys that suddenly spring to life and reflections in windows that shriek unexpectedly at him.
Not since young Hutter arrived at Orlok's castle in "Nosferatu" has a journey to a dreaded house been more fearsome than the one in The Woman in Black.