Feature

The Woman in Black

Daniel Radcliffe stars as a London lawyer sent to a remote village to get his deceased client’s estate in order.

Directed by James Watkins
(PG-13)

★★★

This old-fashioned ghost story “delivers a better-than-serviceable” scare, said Michael O’Sullivan in The Washington Post. Even if some of its tricks and twists are hoary, director James Watkins clearly “knows how to make a body jump out of its skin.” Daniel Radcliffe stars in his post–Harry Potter debut as a London lawyer sent to a remote village in the early 1900s to get a deceased client’s estate in order. The house, of course, turns out to be haunted, but it’s “the ghost of Potter” that may prevent you from suspending disbelief, said Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. Though Radcliffe provides “a sturdy, sympathetic center for the tale,” it’ll take time before many of us “will be able to see the actor instead of his famous character, and time for him to shake that role off too.” The real star here, though, is the haunted house, said Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. It’s a “masterpiece of production design,” and it’s prone to emitting “blasts of cacophonous noise” that intensify frightening moments, making the entire movie that much more effective.

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