The Woman in Black
Direction: James Watkins
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds
Rating: * 1/2
In his first role after wrapping the Harry Potter series, Daniel Radcliffe portrays a widowed lawyer in Victorian England. A Gothic haunted-house tale, The Woman in Black retreads the often-travelled ground of the 1960s horror flicks produced by the estimable Hammer studios.
Lucklessly, a feeling of dread is missing from the script which favours loud noises and cheap effects over psychological subtlety.
Fret and frown, then, along with the widower who arrives at a remote coastal village to finalise the estate of the recently deceased owner.
The lawyer snoops around the mansion by candlelight searching for vital documents.
Before we can say 'boo', he's confronted with apparitions of dead children, ominous wind-up dolls, not to forget a graveyard shrouded in fog.
By the time the mystery is unraveled, the viewer is too exhausted to care about the outcome.
Almost every aspect of this poltergeist patchwork, from the fright-free atmosphere to the contrived characterisations, has been seen and suffered before.