Title: The Woman In Black 2: Angel of Death
HTS Overall Score:
“The Woman in Black” was a solidly done little suspense/horror film from 2012 that ended up pleasing me quite a bit more than it disappointed. It wasn’t a GREAT movie, but it had an effective use of jump scares and starred Daniel Radcliffe in a role that tried very hard to distance the young man from his “Harry Potter” fan base. Color me surprised when I see a press release for a sequel, this time coming from Fox studios instead of Sony Home Entertainment. I can dig it, I like horror films a lot and even poor horror films (which is a staple of the Horror genre) can be quite fun if you don’t expect too much from them. Much like I expected, the sequel doesn’t stand up to the fun of the first movie and ends up being rather blasé and run of the mill, especially with a PG-13 rating (blood covers a multitude of failings in the horror world).
Jump ahead about half a century from the incidents that plagued Daniel Radcliffe and his family. Now it’s 1941 and we’re in war torn England. The bombing raids from the German army are causing families to send their children to safety in the English countryside. One Jean Hogg (McRory) and her assistant Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox) are charged with taking 8 young children to the marshy swamps of Crythin Gifford, and guess what house they are staying in? Yup, you guessed it, Eel Marsh house is back and the ghost of Jennet Humfrye is still guarding the old place. Blissfully unaware of the evil spirit, Eve and Jean setup house and start enjoying their life until the bombings end. Soon strange things start happening as the ghost takes an interest in a young boy, Edward (Oaklee Pendergast). Edward is a bit of a loaner and soon enough Eve starts to find out the little tidbits of knowledge left amongst the ruined house that explains the situation.
With the help of an airplane pilot (Jeremy Irvine), Eve gets the children out of the house before more than one child dies. Unfortunately the ethereal ghost follows them out to their hiding spot and soon claims Edward’s life. Grief stricken Eve almost misses the one clue that makes her come to the realization that Jennet still had Edwards alive. Rushing back to Eel Marsh house, Eve has to defeat the evil spirit and reclaim a piece of her soul by saving the young boy.
I’m not sure what to think of this sequel. It seems a sequel that really has no real reason to exist. The original movie wrapped things up quite nicely, but as we all know, evil never dies, and neither do movie franchises. Moving the time period up to WWII was a nice touch, adding a sense of already palpable dread with the goings on of the war, and it kind of distances us from the old characters. However, the script was a jumbled mess of ideas, with a romance thrown in for good measure between Harry (Irvine) and Eve to try and garner sympathy, as well as trying to make it more of a mystery than a horror film. Eve spends a lot of time trying to solve the puzzle that is Eel Marsh House rather than do her job, and even with that type of negligence there is a surprisingly low body count in the film.
The ghost doesn’t show up till about 40-45 minutes into the movie, and when she does, it’s the same tired old jump scares that we’ve seen a million times. A hand is seen in the darkness, the shadow of a ghost eerily fades into the back ground and something will jump out at you from the shadows. I have no problem with jump scares, as they can be used quite effectively to startle and scare a person, but these scares are telegraphed a mile away and have been seen in nearly the same order of events in the first movie. This results in a horror movie that just doesn’t have any sense of horror for the most part. The mystery part is actually pretty decent, but the cheesy dialog and rough script kept the movie from becoming anything but mildly entertaining.
Rated PG-13 for some disturbing and frightening images, and for thematic elements
Fox’s 2.40:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray is one that is this close to being reference material. The movies is given a blue/green tinge to the color grading, but the majority of the time the film is rather desaturated to give a somber and gloomy texture to the movie. Still the detail is stunning, with every piece of clothing and every brick in the rotting mansion replicated perfectly. Long shots and close ups alike look amazing with nary a hint of softness or irregularities. The movie is shrouded in black and that mean accuracy of black levels is paramount, and Fox doesn’t fail to deliver. The shadows are deep and inky without a hint of crush or greying out. I did notice that the desaturating of the colors gave the skin tones of the characters a rather pasty and ghost like pall to themselves, and that’s not just relegated to the ghost. Excellent transfer all around that hovers just on the edge of perfection.
Eerie films like this always benefit from an amazing audio track and the 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless is a stunner for sure. From the moment that the film starts in the sewers I knew this was going to be a rocking track from the sheer force of the LFE presence. And that LFE presence doesn’t let up the entire movie, just filling in every void and crack in the movie with deep, throaty walls of bass. The jump scares are intense and jitter worthy as a result and the entire film is coated with an immensely weight sense of dread from the score. Dialog is clear as a bell and the front set of speakers show some great directionality and panning effects to keep the listener occupied. The ample use of surrounds creates a very busy track that is constantly teeming with ambient energy and the overall experience is drop dead perfect.
• Pulling Back the Veil: The Making of "The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death:
• Chilling Locations
• Theatrical Trailer
• Promo Trailers
While the first “The Woman In Black” is a decent little jump scare thriller, the sequel ends up being even more mediocre due to the hackneyed script and cheap jump scares. The movie doesn’t rely on blood, guts and gore, but more on the startle you type scares utilized as a method of suspense. I rather enjoyed the first movie, but came out mildly bored with the second. There just wasn’t enough to hold your attention, which is sad considering how well done the Blu-ray itself is. For those looking for some cheap scares, this might be worth renting.
Starring: Helen McRory, Jeremy Irvine, Phoebe Fox
Directed by: Tom Harper
Written by: Jon Croker,
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 98 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 14th 2015
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