Family Movie Night
By Karyn Bowman
Lately I have been obsessed with ghost stories.
I find myself staying up late at night to watch Ghost Adventures or The Dead Files on the Travel Channel. After I am done watching I swear I hear footsteps in the house, strange noises and such.
I have thought for a long time we have a ghost in our house. Our dearly beloved Flash seemed to be in the house, thumping her tail as she hears one of us coming up the steps. Sometimes, I swear a cat is jumping on the bed but we do not have a cat anymore.
In some ways, it is comforting knowing they want to be here. But I have also asked the ghosts in my house to never materialize in front of me because it would scare the living daylights out of me.
Knowing this I still decided to rent The Woman in Black this week. I guess I like to think I still want a little scare every now and again.
The story involves a young lawyer (Daniel Radcliffe) going to a remote seaside village to finalize the estate of a client who has passed away. There are many papers to be sorted. What he does not know and everyone else does is that the spirit in the house he must go into is evil and takes the life of a child whenever she is seen.
We know that the lawyer is a widower left with a young son and his grief has taken him to the brink. He has also been told to complete this assignment or he will be without a job. This is why he keeps going to the house.
My 15-year-old and I watched it together. Well, he watched it and I sat in the dining room looking up facts about the movie because I was too scared to watch it. With every scary bit of music, I knew something bad was happening. I knew the woman was making an appearance or another child was forced to take its own life.
I also knew what was going to happen, thanks to some spoilers on various websites, and I wanted to see how they would play out.
I find the movie strangely effective, especially the stuff involving Mrs. Daily. During the Edwardian period, there were many notable ‘mediums’ who stated they could talk to the dead. Slate writing and the spirit speaking through the medium were common.
Daniel Radcliffe has the daunting task of losing his Harry Potter persona in a movie filled with moments to make you jump. He must be believable as the lawyer who is alone for much of the movie, reacting to sounds and bumps as well as dealing with the deep depression of grief. Radcliffe was believable for me.
But there are also good supporting performances by Ciarán Hinds and Janet McTeer, the wealthy couple who has befriended the young man, which shores up the younger actor. They help balance him.
This is probably the last ‘scary’ movie I will ever watch. Not because it was gory but for the fact there was some plausibility in the scares. My son loved the movie, every moment of it. While this is a great movie for early teenagers, I think it would be better to let the tweeners and younger children hold off a few years before watching it.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.