<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Tom Harper. Starring Phoebe Fox, Jeremy Irvine, Helen McCrory, Oaklee Pendergast, Adrian Rawlins
The first The Woman In Black film was the same old thing and in Angel of Death we have more of precisely that.
I vaguely remember Daniel Radcliffe and Eel Marsh House on the island from the first film and was absolutely loathed to watch the second one. While I prefer this sequel to the original it’s still a total waste of time and another in a long line of not-so-scary films that tick off all the same horror genre tropes in an attempt to get a quick scare out of the audience.
Taking place about 40 years after the original film left off, we find ourselves in World War II England during the time of the Blitz when Germany was bombing the Empire. A small group of children are sent out of the city to apparent safety with their school headmistress Mrs Hogg (Helen McCrory) and her assistant Eve Perkins (Phoebe Fox) to the eerie island of Eel Marsh and the now dilapidated house. Which is of course haunted by The Woman In Black who does pretty much the same old thing and a couple of kids are bumped off before they decide to leave the haunted establishment.
Miss Perkins of course has a dashing young man called Harry (Jeremy Irvine, looking far prettier than Phoebe Fox) who believes her suspicions of the mysterious lady in the house and helps her save the day and some of the children, in particular Edward (Oaklee Pendergast). What’s the back-story, you ask. I have no clue. You’ll have to read up on the original film or book or play if you’re in the least bit interested in the tale of a mother who lost her son, but he didn’t know he was her son and so she kills off any child that comes in to the house, blah blah blah.
While it did have some dark moments, the film’s (over) use of ‘jump scares’ totally puts you off. It’s like the director, having nothing solid by way of actual scariness, decided to throw in these ‘boo’ moments that seem terribly forced and don’t really shock you at all. Because we’re all so used to them.
The primary problem with Angel of Death is that you have no clue, apart from random bits and pieces, about the motivations of the evil lady and the history behind Eel Marsh. And there’s no investment in the lead characters either since they’re so bland and generic.
Also, I watched The Woman In Black: Angel of Death after my press show of the Angelina Jolie directed film Unbroken. This surprisingly good film shows us that real life is far scarier than any horror movie.