About a month ago, I saw the film adaptation of The Woman In Black by Susan Hill. I had been looking forward to watching it ever since I had seen the trailer for it about 6 months prior. Then I discovered that it was based on a book and I had to read the book as well – which I did last week.
The film was just as spooky as I hoped it would be and Daniel Radcliffe (yeah, Harry Potter) was surprisingly good in his first major role since the Potter films ended. It was one of those scary sort of films with lots of suspense. Admittedly it’s not one of the scariest films I’ve seen, and the techniques used to scare are ones that have been done before. But it really is the suspense that gets you. Right when you thought that something was going to happen, it didn’t and the suspense just kept on building until one moment arrived that scared the pants off you. I’ll be completely honest – I spent quite a large portion of the film with my scarf covering my eyes and almost spilt an entire packet of m&m’s in my fright (they were coconut flavoured, for those of you who are interested).
The strength of the film is the fact that is based on a really great book. While the usual “Hollywood liberties” have been taken in regards to altering the storyline slightly, it actually worked to the film’s advantage. While the plot is largely the same, a couple of changes were made for the film that I think, in the grand scheme of things, made a little more sense. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the book and I found it to be just as suspenseful as the film, but certain things occurred in the book that in some ways, didn’t seem to get finished properly – loose ends I guess you could say. It’s hard to explain if you haven’t read the book or seen the film, but there didn’t seem to be any real attempt to solve the mystery in the book, which I guess is why they wrote the film in such as way that there was some mystery solving – it just worked so much better.
But although the book may have felt a little incomplete, I preferred the overall outcome than that of the film. And it really is a very well written book. It’s not every day that you read a ghost story that actually gives you chills. Occasionally I found myself breathing quite quickly and my pulse was racing, I wanted to cover my face with blankets at many points – it was that suspenseful. In some ways, I wish I had read the book first, so that I would be comparing the film to the book – not the other way around.
Overall, they are both worthy of viewing/reading. Both have their pros and cons – the book being a little bit incomplete and the movie being at times, a little predictable and been there, done that. But if you are into ghost stories and like being scared just a little bit, this story will do that for you, whether you read the book or watch the film.
RATING – I’ll give both 7 out of 10. Both had their own pros and cons, but all in all did the job they were meant to do.
WHO SHOULD WATCH/READ – lovers of scary movies and ghost stories, also those interested in seeing how good Dan-Rad really is.