The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death
Back in black
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.”