The Woman In Black (1989)

SEPTEMBER 29, 2007


Never heard of The Woman In Black in my life prior to a few weeks ago. But I was at a birthday party, and no less an authority than Uncle Creepy from DreadCentral told me it scared him to the point of turning his lights back on while he watched it. He himself had heard about the film from someone who told him it was terrifying, so he was like “Fuck that, it won’t scare me!” but apparently it did. And now he passed this “challenge” on to me. Sort of like The Ring of British TV movies.

Well it’s pretty good, but I didn’t turn my lights back on. I DID however almost knock over my ginger ale while trying to find it in the dark, which if it spilled on the carpet, would cost me a lot to have it cleaned. Now, THAT’S scary! *cue drum sting*

Anyway, like I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of haunted house movies. I think I really need to identify with the folks that are being haunted (i.e. Poltergeist) in order to get scared. But nothing in my life thus far has prepared me to identify with a family man who works as a lawyer in 1930’s London. Plus, most of the “scares” just come from his seeing a woman in black in the distance and hearing strange noises at night. That’s not really terrifying; instead I just start wondering if the guy is maybe suffering from a mental disorder.

However, there is a scene that legit freaked me out. The guy is sleeping, he wakes up, and the ghost chick is floating over his bed, screaming in his face. They cut back and forth between her and him screaming 3x each, and it’s damned unnerving. Also, the guy gets a cute little dog at one point, and I was afraid for HIM. Still, my lights were off.

As HH movies go, it’s definitely one of the better ones. Especially when compared to modern examples, which rely on giant swirls of black CG and shit like that to try to scare us. This one is all mood and atmosphere (though strangely lacking in humor, usually a highlight of British horror). And the ending is a real downer, which isn’t a real surprise when you consider it was written by Nigel Kneale, who wrote my beloved, ultimately depressing Halloween III (“Turn it off!”). Sucks that guy died, if there’s one thing that is totally lacking in modern horror movies (besides being good at all for the most part) is mean-spiritedness. I think TCM: The Beginning is the only one that’s even come close to achieving the sort of downbeat, “Fuck you, audience!” levels that a lot of my favorites from the 70s and 80s did.

Anyway, I pass the challenge on to you, Horror Movie A Day denizens! You can find it on ebay (where I did – it’s not on Netflix or Blockbuster). See if you are as scared as the others! And if not, well, I didn’t tell you so.

What say you?

1 comment:

  1. The depressing ending seems to be a staple in all versions of "The Woman in Black".


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