The Woman in Black

Monday February 6th 2012

While Emma Watson hovers uncomfortably in the background of frothy British biopics and Rupert Grint preps his Norweigan war epic Into the White (produced by Lars von Trier’s production company Zentropa dontchaknow), Daniel Radcliffe has gone and got himself his first bona fide post-Potter leading role. Based on the 1983 novel by Susan Hill (as well as the stage play that’s been doing the rounds on the West End for about a billion years), The Woman in Black sees old Radders putting on his serious face for his most actorly piece of acting yet.

The bulk of the movie plays out as follows: Daniel hears a noise. Daniel dismisses the noise. Daniel hears the noise again. Daniel investigates the noise. Daniel has a sense of unease. Daniel approaches the apparent source of the noise. Daniel sees something creepy but reasonably ambiguous. Daniel dismisses the noise.

And repeat.

Such a pattern is hardly uncommon in horror cinema, but it’s all the more disappointing in the case of The Woman in Black because I so badly wanted D-Rad to come out of it well. Ever since this …

… it’s been painfully obvious where Radcliffe’s talents lie — and that’s in big, loud, brilliant stuff like this rather than mopey, po-faced rubbish like The Woman in Black. Just imagine how miserable the next ten years could be if someone convinces him to keep ploughing away with this dross towards an Oscar that’s never going to happen rather than dedicating himself to playing stoners, misfits and utter bastards, as he’s so obviously meant to be doing.

All he needs is a Mysterious Skin. And to be honest, I’d settle for a 500 Days of Summer.