The Woman in Black

Surely someone with Daniel Radcliffe's star power could have picked a weightier post-Potter vehicle than James Watkins' beautifully art directed but amateurish period ghost story "The Woman in Black." Radcliffe (how many hundreds of millions of dollars is his face worth?) plays Arthur Kipps, a young London attorney during the early years of the last century who receives an ultimatum from his boss to get his act together or move on. Kipps, the widowed father of a 4-year-old, accepts the challenge to travel to the remote home of a deceased client, read through her papers, and get the estate, Eel Marsh, ready for sale. Kipps leaves his son in the care of the nanny and travels by train to the village of Crythin Gifford, where the residents tell him there's no room in the inn, he's not welcome and that he should take the first train back to London ... or else. Kipps refuses, preferring to stay employed, and, of course, the disquieted, bitter spirit of the lady of the title runs amok killing villagers as she goes. Aside from the predictability of the narrative, problems with the film begin with Kipps holding out a shilling to bribe a carriage driver to take him out to Eel Marsh. After cutting to the driver, the camera returns to Kipps who is now holding a significantly larger coin. It's a bush league continuity gaffe but when combined with nonsensical points of view, inexplicable 5 o'clock shadows on Radcliffe's boyish cheeks and mysteriously vanishing pets, it's scary how bad this movie is.

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