Daniel Radcliffe plays a lawyer whose wife died while giving birth to his son; and since then he’s been all mopey and his work has suffered and he’s about to get fired if he screws up his next job.  That job is to go to a creepy town where a wealthy woman has died, and deal with all the paperwork regarding her estate (part of which is a creepy house miles from the nearest neighbor who can hear you scream).

So he goes to town and he’s immediately treated like a black man in a whites only convention.   Why?  Because there’s a ghost wandering around — a woman in black — who is angry about something; and whenever someone sees her, a child dies.  Chinese communist leaders should find a way to import her to China — that should help with their population control.  Well, Radcliffe sees this woman in the slimming color many times, and kids in the creepy town start to die in horrible ways.  He must find out what the woman in black wants before his own son is next (sonny boy is visiting Radcliffe in the creepy town within a few days)!

This movie scared me.  I must admit I yelled out once or twice like a boy being molested at Penn State.  “The Woman In Black” has the feel of an old school, ghost story — which is good; but it also uses the current, lazy way of scaring people by turning up the volume to near deafening levels when a scare happens.   Silence probably would have been much more effective.  Anyway, Radcliffe’s character must have really wanted to impress his bosses and keep his job because I would have ran out of that house and town after seeing only 1/20th of what Radcliffe saw!

The most memorable, movie moment is the scene when Radcliffe, stuck in the creepy house at night with only a dog for company, looks outside the window and sees the ghost of a boy come out of the ground and start walking toward the front of the house!  Radcliffe runs downstairs, stares at the doorknob of the front door, and watches it slowly turn!  Ooooh, I can feel the hairs on my body standing up as I write this! I also get this effect when I hear people readily and happily give up part of their constitutional rights in exchange for the promise of safety.

Oh…did I ever tell you of the night my friend, Ed, and I shot his indie movie in another friend’s house in Long Island?  The friend had two dogs that followed us all over the first floor when we arrived.   Then we went downstairs into the basement to do the shoot, and I noticed the two doggies staring down at me from the top of the stairway.  I asked our mutual friend how he trained his dogs to stay away from the basement.  He said they’re not trained to do that; the dogs stopped going down the basement when his grandfather, who used to live in the house, died.  Ed and I looked at each other for a few seconds.  Each of us knew what the other was thinking: “do we really need to do the shoot here?”  Yeah, we did.  It was a great location.  We desperately needed the use of the large basement.  So we proceeded to do the shoot.  Then a fire started at one of the electrical outlets.    Our friend quickly put it out using a fire extinguisher.  Well, this really made Ed and I want to just abandon the plans for the night and head home, but the filmmaking artists in us wanted to go on and finish.   Nothing else happened.  Except…my character used a laser sight on his handgun.  The particles from the fire extinguisher allowed the laser beam to be visible in the air in some of the shots, giving Ed a very unexpected but welcome special effect.  I told Ed later that maybe our friend’s grandfather started the fire so the fire extinguisher can be used, giving us some great effects with the laser sight, increasing the production value of Ed’s extremely low-budget movie.  That’s how I look at it, anyway.

M

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