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Last updated: August 25. 2013 3:57AM - 58 Views

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By David AdamsThe story“I believe even the most rational mind can play tricks in the dark,” says Simon Bailey (Ciaran Hinds) to visiting lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe). They're leaving isolated, desolate and crumbling Eel Marsh House, an unoccupied Victorian mansion in Yorkshire, northern England. Kipps has come up from London to examine the legal papers of the late owner of the house, Jennet Drablow. Kipps must succeed or he'll lose his job. He's a widower whose wife Stella (Sophie Stuckey) died in childbirth four years previously. His son Joseph (Misha Handley) says of his father, “You have a sad face.”How did 7-year old Nathaniel Drablow and his mother die? Why are so many children in the nearby village dying? What is the secret of Eel Marsh House? See this old-fashioned ghost story to find out — maybe. The actorsDaniel Radcliffe is convincing as morose Arthur Kipps, grieving for his wife, worried about his son's well-being and anxious to successfully complete his lawyerly assignment. Alone in Marsh House, separated from the village by the tide that regularly covers the causeway, he must deal with ghostly images — the woman in black who appears in the cemetery — mechanical toys, furniture and doors that move by themselves, and unexpected voices and loud noises. Ciaran Hinds and Janet McTeer are excellent as Simon and Elizabeth Bailey, whose own son is dead. Simon is a rationalist, skeptical about the villagers who believe in ghosts and curses. Elizabeth is mad, given to carving stick figures of hanged men into the woodwork.Others in the cast include Roger Allan as Mr. Bentley, Liz White as Jennet Drablow and Sophie Stuckey as Stella Kipps. Misha Handley, godson to Daniel Radcliffe, is Joseph Kipps, wise beyond his years. Other comments“The Woman in Black” is an old fashioned ghost story, with genuine chills and tingles. Not a slasher film, it has no gore, but made the hair on my neck stand up with an ominous soundtrack and a wildly moving rocking chair without an occupant. Director James Watkins knows we scare better with hints and suggestions rather than CGI creatures. The film's “look” is dark and color-drained. Jan Goldman wrote the spare screenplay from Susan Hill's 1983 novel that also led to a television series and successful stage version. “Woman in Black” may remind movie fans of two classic ghost stories, “The Innocents” (1961) and “The Haunting” (1963). No CGI creatures in those two either.Rated PG-13 for themes, violence and disturbing images, the film runs 95 minutes. For adults and older teens. Youngsters near me lost interest early in the movie. The best ghost story I've seen in a long time. Final wordsIn “The Woman in Black,”The children are dead,A smart ghost story —Chills, tingles and dread.



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