Almost as good as its predecessor.
by Nav Qateel
Set 40 years after The Woman in Black, London is getting bombed by Nazi Germany. Schools are being evacuated to the safer English countryside, with a small group of evacuees destined for the same haunted mansion from the first film.
Not long after teachers Eve and Jean along with several young children arrive at the mansion, spooky goings-on begin. The focus of the ghost appears to be young Edward (Oaklee Pendergast) and teacher Eve. Edward hasn’t spoken since witnessing his parents being killed during the bombings, and the sad little boy seems to be the ideal target for the woman in black.
Edward will only communicate by writing the words down and he also likes to draw pictures. Two boys begin bullying the sullen boy, and they lock him in a room during a game of hide and seek. It’s here that Edward comes into contact with the ghostly spirit, and soon after children start to die.
Eve is also having a hard time of it. She has a secret that the ghost seems to know about. After seeing the apparition a couple of times, Eve tries to warn headmistress Jean that they’re in danger but it falls on deaf ears. The only person who’ll believe Eve is Harry (Jeremy Irvine), a pilot who has taken a liking to her and who regularly visits her at the mansion. It’s left to Eve and Harry to uncover the truth.
The Woman in Black 2 is certainly a straightforward cash-grab thanks to the success Hammer had with their Daniel Radcliffe version. And it’s also guilty of using tropes that will be all too familiar to fans of horror. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad film. I rather enjoyed this follow-up, even if it was lacking in many areas.
It didn’t have the same build-up as the first, nor was the story quite as intreguing. However, the fantastic set design and good cinematography along with solid performances from a credible cast, all helped to substantially elevate the material.
I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t the same amount of time spent on the ghost as there was in The Woman in Black, and the twists didn’t have me desperately trying to figure out what was going on. But these are minor points as far as I’m concerned.
For a follow-up it was pretty good, and it delivered more or less what I’d expected. Just lower your expectations a tad and you should enjoy the film for what it is.