release date: 2 January 2015 (Canada)
run time: 98 mins
considered: Drama, Horror, Thriller
director: Tom Harper
starring: Phoebe Fox, Merryn Pearse, Mary Roscoe, Helen McCrory, Amelia Crouch, Amelia Pidgeon, Casper Allpress, Pip Pearce, Leilah de Meza, Jude Wright, Alfie Simmons, Oaklee Pendergast, Thomas Arnold, Jeremy Irvine, Adrian Rawlins
movie summary: Eel Marsh House has been all but abandoned after some crazy things happened some 40 years ago. When London is being bombed and raided in the middle of World War II, the schools of the city gathered up all the kids and sent them out-of-town for protection. Teacher Eve Perkins (Phoebe Fox) will arrive at the Eel Marsh House with the first wave of kids, including the silent little boy named Edward (Oaklee Pendergast). After the first few nights Eve hears strange sounds before seeing the woman in black in various places in the house and across the fields. Eve becomes determined to figure out what she wants, even if means her life.
my thoughts: It’s a new year for horror movies, which means a clean slate, but the trend of horrible nonsense films in the genre continues with The Woman in Black 2. Out of pure boredom as I type this review I decided to re-watch the first Woman in Black with Daniel Radcliffe. I am watching it again because I slept through it when I saw in theatres back in 2012. I needed a little more information about the Eel Marsh House for this review so that I could have a better understanding of why it was abandoned, even though it doesn’t really matter for the sake of this sequel story.
The writers tried really hard to breathe life into the franchise after killing off the star of the previous movie and I’m not even talking about the woman in black. Daniel Radcliffe, fresh off saving the world as Harry Potter, was the first guy to head out to the house only to scare himself to death. Someone would think that a haunted house that served absolutely no purpose in the world would be torn down, burned, or left alone. The house is on an island of sorts, when the tides come in the road becomes impassable, leaving anyone out there visiting stranded. Why on earth anyone in their right mind would want to raise children there is beyond me, but in order to make money of movie goers, they decided to use the house as a safe haven for young kids in the middle of a World War.
There is nothing absolutely scary about this movie. The broken home has missing floor boards, cracked mirrors, creepy rocking chairs, and lots of locked doors that open by themselves. The site of a few suicides looks pretty good for lack of maintenance but even when the teachers show up they question the stability of the house. I’m talking about the house so much because without the house, the Woman in Black would have no place to haunt and would vanish into hell, or where ever bad spirits go. It serves as the backdrop to what is supposed to scare you, like when someone looks out the window birds fly by, you’re suppose to jump but if you’re smart you’ll see these tricks coming a mile away and just laugh when other people jump. The woman, draped in black funeral attire, just wonders around the house checking in on little kids and causing strange sounds around the house. Sadly, she’s not scary at all and her parlor tricks are nothing we haven’t seen before.
The only person in the whole house to be curious about the Woman in Black is Phoebe Fox’s Eve Parkins character. She hears sounds and like an idiot goes to explore areas of the house where the sounds are coming from only to come face to face with the evil spirit. She’ll try to convince her fellow teacher but no one believes her, pretty like every scary movie ever made. In an attempt to figure out what the ghost wants, she’ll enlist her friend Harry Burnstow (Jeremy Irvine) to help her explore the past records of the house. Together the pair will realize that the woman in black wants silent Edward for revenge about something from Eve’s past. At this point one can’t help but laugh at how silly this story is and how a ghost who never knew Eve in real life will now want to torment her because she’s staying in the house. When other kids from the group begin to disappear and turn up dead, Eve finally decides to leave the property only to run into more trouble when the woman in black follows her to settle the score. Why do ghosts always need a little kid to be sacrificed to end up happy?
Sadly there is no mention ever of Radcliffe’s character Arthur Kipps, so I’m not where the franchise goes from here. Will the Woman in Black continue to haunt random people who stop by to visit the house or will she stick to Eve and Edward for the next movie. I can’t say I would be surprised if the Woman in Black 3 came out sometime in the future, and the Ghostbusters showed up to take her in. This movie reminded me of other movies where dumb people just continue to piss off evil spirits and think they will over come them only to end up dead in the end. It seems strange to say that these spirits may actually be real but who am I to judge what is real and what is fake.
my final thoughts: The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death is not a scary movie by any means and will use cheap parlor tricks to scare you instead of the typical blood and guts. This story has its own beginning and ending that doesn’t tie into the previous film with exception being the main character. As the first horror movie released in 2015 it currently holds the title of the worse film of the genre, but there’s plenty of room for something else to take its place. Sadly I just wish they would make horror movies like they used to.
my star rating: 4 out 10
imdb: 5.4 out 10
rottentomatoes: 23% out 100%
roger ebert: 2 out 4
richard crouse: 2 out 5