Here we go, people. Here comes Daniel Radcliffe's upcoming test of his ability to sell tickets to a film not called Harry Potter and.... He's doing a great job right now headlining the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and hasn't missed a performance yet. But headlining a feature film--especially a modern Gothic film--is far more challenging. The Woman in Black is based on the novel of the same name by Susan Hill. Arthur Krupps (the Radcliffe character) is a solicitor called out to a funeral of an eccentric woman. Merely mentioning her home on the outskirts of town makes the villagers nervous. Krupps faces increasingly disturbing signs of a haunting by the mysterious Woman in Black. Is there more to the story than what meets the eye or is the house of the late woman irreversibly haunted?
The first trailer for the film was just released. I'm not particularly hopeful for the film. One, it's coming out the first week in February, a typical dumping ground for horror films that no one knows what to do with. Two, it seems like a whole bunch of jump scares, which is out of character for all but the most experimental of modern Gothic stories. Those are the ones that decide to toss in some Lovecraft or slasher influences for kicks. Three, what we see tends to be very repetitive and not all that startling. What makes a scare in a Gothic piece work is how strange and unending it seems. It's not enough for the curtains to rustle; the chimney needs to shoot out its soot and the candle needs to set fire to the painting on the wall.
What do you think? Are you up for a non-wizarding world of Daniel Radcliffe? Another quasi-Gothic feature film in a vague setting? Or will you skip it out and just read your dog-eared copy of Frankenstein instead? Sound off.