Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Woman in Black - Phil's Five Words for Films

The Woman in Black   Having been given a 12A certificate by the BBFC, I was slightly dubious whether or not this spooky tale could really deliver any good shocks and scares.  I needn't have worried.  There were several occasions when I had the spine-tingles and a couple of set pieces that had me jumping out of my chair ( at one point my choice of language was far from 12A ).  It's all good ghostly fun.  Daniel Radcliffe plays the youthful looking widower Arthur Kipps, a lawyer sent in to tidy up the legal affairs of a recently deceased woman.  The locals are hostile towards his presence at Eel Marsh House ( a proper Gothic haunted manor cut off at high tide ) and Kipps' sightings of a woman in black are soon linked to the deaths of children in the village.  There are ghostly noises, moving furniture, faces in windows and spooky children and it is all put together in that 'Hammer - Houses of Horror' way.  There is very little gore or horror but the atmosphere of the film is perfectly judged.  It's more about the things you don't see than the things you do.  Like a good, old fashioned campfire ghost story, it is how the story is told that can be the truly scary thing.  Daniel Radcliffe does well in his first major roll since the H.P films, delivering a solid performance and a guaranteed young audience for the film.   'The Woman in Black' could so easily have been given a 15 certificate and I thought the final scenes were slightly wasted but fans of spine -tingles everywhere should enjoy this tidy tale of spirit rage. Atmospherically jumpy.

7.5 out of 10
Cert 12A (uk)

Monday, 2 April 2012

Paranormal Activity 3 - Phil's Five Words for Films

Paranormal Activity 3  The third outing for the P.A franchise is a pre-prequel, being set in the late 1980's and centring on the same sisters from the original film and follow up. ( P.A 1 + 2 reviewed here and here ).  We watch as the young sisters and their parents are subjected to the kind of haunting experience you would not forget in a hurry.  But it seems that they did forget and therein lies the main problem with the film.  Whereas the first two P.A films were nicely tied together, the third seems to have been tacked on in an attempt to justify another film.  Did the normal, well adjusted sisters of the original film really forget about this kind of childhood?  Me thinks not.  Something about brainwashing or amnesia was put forward but, for me it was a little forced.  Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman who brought us "Catfish" in 2009  ( reviewed here ), PA3 is more of the same uncomfortable silences, supernatural rumblings and loud bangs but has less tension and more comic edge to the shocks.  Having said that, there are a few good scares to be had and the roving VHS camera worked well as a tension building device.  If you enjoyed the other films and can ignore the holes in the plot, then PA3 has some good jumps and is worth a watch.  If you haven't been a fan, then I don't think there's anything new to help change your mind.

5.5 out of 10.
Cert 15 (uk)