Wednesday, February 22, 2012
What Did They Hear?
Review by Edmund Meinerts
THE WOMAN IN BLACK is a ghost story of the old school. Taking place during the Edwardian era in England, it features the ominously-named Eel Marsh House, creepy visions that only certain people can see, mysteriously locked doors, things that go bump in the night…in short, the works. Originally a horror novel by Susan Hill written in 1983, the bone-chilling tale rose to fame thanks to Stephen Mallatratt’s popular stage adaptation, which opened in London in 1989 and continues to run to this day. Inevitably, a Hollywood film adaptation followed, produced by the revived Hammer Film Productions company. It stars Daniel Radcliffe in his first notable non-Potter role as the young solicitor Arthur Kipps, who must stay at Eel Marsh House for a few days in order to sort out the paperwork of its recently-deceased owner. Of course, it isn’t long before he starts seeing visions of a mysterious woman in black…
Hardly a stranger to the horror genre is MARCO BELTRAMI, for whom THE WOMAN IN BLACK represents a routine assignment. BELTRAMI’s track record in the genre is somewhat hit-and-miss, ranging from grandiose, lyrical triumphs such as MIMIC or DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK to purely functional, borderline-unlistenable efforts such as JOY RIDE, MY SOUL TO TAKE or SCRE4M. THE WOMAN IN BLACK resides somewhere between the two, featuring lengthy stretches of dissonant underscore and tired horror techniques offset by an understated, but lyrical thematic base.
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