Saturday, 18 February 2012

Melican at the movies: The Woman in Black

Cre-eak, cre-eak, cre-eak...

When I went to the theatre many years ago, on a visit as a birthday present to my Dad, I always remember the spine tingling feeling I experienced on hearing this noise. The noise of a wooden rocking chair slowly rocking, back and forth, back and forth. And this noise yet again managed to creep me out last week.

Last week I went to the cinema to see Hollywood's cinema version of The Woman In Black. Now normally I find myself commenting on book to film offerings, but in this instance I admit I've as yet never read the book. I have, however, now experienced this creepy tale in both a live theatre, acted on stage, and now played out in front of me on the big screen.

I will openly admit I am a wimp - and am getting worse as I get older - when it comes to scary films and stories and yet again I found myself watching through my fingers as I covered my face with my hands.

One thing I did wonder was whether they would be able to create the same sensation for the audience when watching on screen as they are able to in an old London theatre setting. When I saw the show I remember being seated in the dress circle and (without spoiling the experience for future theatregoers) I don't know if I could ever go and watch it seated in the stalls. The theatre was made to be very cold and a misty effect was pumped out into the theatre from the stage throughout.

Thanks to the - as per usual - super slow service at Romford's eateries, we found ourselves missing the trailers and ended up in the cinema partway through the opening credits of the film itself. However it didn't take long for me to get into the atmosphere as the screen was filled was misty, spooky scenes and a creepy soundtrack.

I don't want to go into too much detail of the film as obviously people will want to go and see this themselves and don't want me spoiling the experience. I had forgotten quite a lot about the story itself (my theatre visit was a long time ago), but certain scenes on screen soon reminded me and saw me start to get scared very early on.

Now not having the read book I can't really comment on the move from book to stage to screen. Some people I have heard felt the film is so very different from the book they weren't too keen. From what I can recall of the theatre a lot of points were very similar.

Overall I thought the film was good at building tension and there were jumps aplenty throughout. However, for me Daniel Radcliffe as the lead character was not ideal. Yes he's a great actor, but I just couldn't believe him too much as Arthur Kipps (and it wasn't a Harry Potter influence on my opinion as I've never really seen the films). To me he is too young and has too much of a babyface.

I've also seen some people uncomfortable with the theme of the film and the whole idea of young children dying (and not by accident). To be honest this isn't something that I considered when watching the film, people who've made these comments do seem to be young Mums, so perhaps this is why I can't relate.

The film kept me gripped throughout and iconic items seen in the theatre were featured on screen too - in particular the creaking rocking chair and the children's nursery/lost children's playroom.

So would I recommend this film? Yes I would recommend it to people who like a scary film or who like a good jump. I wouldn't necessarily suggest very sensitive people go to see it or in turn those who aren't all that impressed by being made to jump as this is a key aim/part of the film.

Now I'm faced with two problems - being in my flat on my own in the dark and not getting freaked out, and whether or not to now try and brave the book...

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