The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death: "She Never Forgives, She Always Comes Back"

Director: Tom Harper
Writer:    Jon Croker
               Susan Hill
Starring: Phoebe Fox
               Jeremy Irvine
               Helen McCrory
               Adrian Rawlins
               Leanne Best
               Ned Dennehy
               Oaklee Pendergast 
Rating:   **     

Release Date: Out Now

When I heard, all the way back in 2012, that a sequel to the surprisingly successful The Woman in Black was being made, I was dubious to say the least. I am a huge fan of the play in London, and I feared that anything more added to this story would tarnish and destroy what had been haunting people for many years. Sadly it seems I was correct to worry about a sequel being green lit by the movie producers. Here we have a film riddled with cliches, pulled along by an unoriginal and badly put together story, which does nothing but drag down its predecessor.

Phoebe Fox & Jeremy Irvine
The story follows Eve Parkins (Fox), a teacher who takes a small group of children to the countryside away from the Blitz of World War II, 40 years after the first films setting. The house that she and the headteacher (McCrory) takes the children for shelter is Eel Marsh House. Of course soon after their arrival the titular Woman in Black makes her appearence and starts haunting the new residents, and claiming one child (Pendergast) for her evil doings.

Throw in a hunky, and rather unnecessary love interest for Eve, in the shape of Harry Burnstow (Irvine) and you pretty much have the story ready to go. A uninteresting, done-to-death sort of story that treads familiar ground and uses every horror movie trick in the book. 

There is no attempt to build any sort of true tension, there was no point where the atmosphere grew so unbearably tense that i couldn't bear it anymore. Instead the director used cheap scare tactics and recycled shocks, all of which have been tried and tested to death. At one point, for no apparent reason, a bird somehow forgets how to fly like it's born to do and slams into a window; purely to get a reaction out of the audience. This is not the sort of technique I expected to see in a Woman in Black sequel.

Helen McCrory
The one saving grace for this film is the performance from Phoebe Fox, a stunning actress who manages to create a well rounded and heartfelt character whom you genuinely route for. She is given a fairly abysmal  script to work with, yet her talent alone makes her character the only enjoyable part of the film, despite some questionable choices made throughout the picture.

For the horror fans that just like to be scared every 20 minutes with a tired trick, there is a chance that you may find this enjoyable. However for fans of the play/book/first film, this film lacks that tension that is so beautifully built and created originally and, in my opinion, so deserves. I genuinely felt like I had been cheated as a fan of the original work, and I really feel that this is the perfect example of lazy film making; cashing in on a brilliant first film and not really thinking it out properly. Unfortunately it has been left to long after the Daniel Radcliffe movie for anyone to get as excited over it as they may have done a year or two ago.

The Woman in Black: Angel of Death - Trailer