The Woman In Black: An­gel Of Death

Back in black

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Cinema -

Ham­mer heads back to Eel Marsh House in the gothic ghost story se­quel.

Re­lease Date: 1 Jan­uary

15 | 98 min­utes Distrib­u­tor: En­ter­tain­ment One Di­rec­tor: Tom Harper Cast: Phoebe Fox, Oak­lee Pen­der­gast, He­len McCrory, Jeremy Irvine, Leanne Best, Leilah de Meza

After what hap­pened last

time, you’d think no- one would ever go back to Eel Marsh House. And sure enough, no- one does – un­til some­thing scarier than ghosts drives them to it.

Set some 40 years after the orig­i­nal, this se­quel sees a pair of school­teach­ers ( Phoebe Fox and He­len McCrory) bring­ing a group of evac­uees to the now derelict house, hop­ing to keep them safe from Ger­man bombers. It’s a clever way of get­ting peo­ple back within the Woman’s grasp, but com­pared with the evils of ra­tions, sons shipped off to war and con­stant air raid sirens, can one venge­ful ghost re­ally be all that bad?

The an­swer is both yes and no. At first, the Woman’s an­tics are con­fined to slam­ming doors and lurk­ing mo­rosely in cor­ners. The back­ground of the war seems far more fright­en­ing: ev­ery character in the movie has al­ready been touched by tragedy, so a ghost just seems like yet another item on a long list of aw­ful things they’re cop­ing with. There’s

It’s hard not to feel you’ve seen this be­fore

no pos­si­bil­ity of sym­pa­this­ing with the ghost’s own sad back­story, ei­ther. Her suf­fer­ing pales in com­par­i­son to that of the peo­ple she’s men­ac­ing, to the point where you want to tell her to give it a bloody rest.

The bal­ance of grief and fright fi­nally tips in the fi­nal act, when the Woman stops hid­ing and starts lur­ing chil­dren to their deaths. A scene in a bunker is proper night­mare fuel, but it’s the only scare you’ll re­ally re­mem­ber once the cred­its have rolled. Di­rec­tor Tom Harper clearly wanted this to feel like an old- fash­ioned, slow burn­ing ghost story, but the re­sult is just a lit­tle bit too slow. Phoebe Fox does a de­cent job of act­ing ter­ri­fied, and she’s like­able enough that you want her character to tri­umph over evil, but it’s hard not to feel you’ve seen much of this be­fore. If the Woman in Black fan­cies another se­quel, she’s go­ing to have to learn a few new tricks. Sarah Dobbs Harper kept Phoebe Fox’s adren­a­line pump­ing by hid­ing and jumping out at her on set. Arghh!

“It’s okay, my jacket col­lar will pro­tect us both.”

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