Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'The Woman in Black' review: A lousy cure for post-Potter depression

*1/2 (out of four)

If it looks like a haunted house and sounds like a haunted house, it is probably a haunted house.

Yet the ominously remote location and eerie appearance that practically includes a sign reading “Stay away, you fool!” aren’t enough to deter Arthur Kipps (Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe), a young lawyer sent to finalize some paperwork and deliver on one last chance to save his job. Obviously Kipps has little faith in his employment prospects; the more he sees screaming ghosts and learns about deceased children, the more he insists on walking slowly down dark hallways in search of something unlikely to complete his assigned task.

Working from Susan Hill’s Victorian-era novel, writer Jane Goldman and director James Watkins subscribe to the notion that it’s always terrifying for something spooky to appear and then disappear on second glance. Since they also don’t think that will be enough to scare anyone who’s seen a horror movie before, the generic “The Woman in Black” frequently accentuates its brooding, aimless scenes with music that sounds like someone dropped an elephant on a piano.

The film seems to move ploddingly toward depth Radcliffe never conveys and a twist that never comes. In the meantime, Kipps fails to suggest much commitment to his own 4-year-old child (whose mother died during childbirth) by running into a burning building. Or perhaps fire isn't a big deal—considering the guy spends one gloomy day after another surrounded by tales of dead children and the pressure of paperwork, maybe we're supposed to think he’s already in hell.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 7 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com. @mattpais

 

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • New movie reviews
    New movie reviews

    'Get Hard,' 'Serena,' 'Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,' 'Danny Collins,' 'Insurgent,' 'The Gunman,' 'It Follows,' 'The Hunting Ground,' 'Cinderella,' 'Run All Night,' ''71,' 'Maps to the Stars,' 'Focus,' 'The Lazarus Effect,' 'What We Do in the Shadows,' 'Hot Tub Time Machine...

  • Good movies to rent now
    Good movies to rent now

    See what recent DVD releases are worth your time and money. Don't rent? Check out the newest movies to stream here. Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page. 

  • Hot Hollywood interviews
    Hot Hollywood interviews

    The most memorable quotes from our latest movie Q&As, including Veronica Roth, Margot Robbie, Bella Heathcote, Kevin Costner/Anthony Mackie, Sienna Miller, Emily Ratajkowski, David Oyelowo/Ava DuVernay, Eddie Redmayne, Jon Stewart/Maziar Bahari, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons,...

  • Best new movies
    Best new movies

    Reviews of recent favorites like 'Insurgent,' 'It Follows,' 'The Hunting Ground,' 'Focus,' 'What We Do in the Shadows,' 4-star 'The Last Five Years,' 'McFarland, USA,' 'Girlhood,' 'Mommy,' 4-star 'A Most Violent Year,' 'American Sniper,' 'Paddington,' 'Two Days, One Night,' 'Still Alice,'...

  • Worst new movies
    Worst new movies

    The recent awfulness we've seen, like 'Get Hard,' 'Serena,' 'Cinderella,' 'Run All Night,' 'The Lazarus Effect,' 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2,' 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' 'Jupiter Ascending,' 'Seventh Son,' 'The Boy Next Door,' 'Blackhat,' 'Predestination,' 'Into the Woods,' 'Exodus: Gods and Kings,'...

  • The Kickback performs 'Rob Our House' on CRC Live
    The Kickback performs 'Rob Our House' on CRC Live

    For the debut of a new partnership between RedEye and Chicago Recording Company, we bring you The Kickback performing "Rob Our House." The recording is part of Chicago Recording Company's new series, CRC Live, in which artists perform the songs they've recorded at the famous Chicago recording...

  • Runoff gives voters, candidates another chance
    Runoff gives voters, candidates another chance

    The April 7 runoff election is about second chances.

  • Bring on the spring sexy: Experts help you shake off the winter blues
    Bring on the spring sexy: Experts help you shake off the winter blues

    Congratulations, Chicago: We made it. Spring is officially here. Though the city still might face a few bursts of cold, greenery is starting to poke its way through the dirt, patios hesitantly are opening and your walk of shame outfit isn’t seeming nearly as ridiculous. (Oh wait, you wore...

Comments
Loading