Friday, March 10, 2017

Review: THE WOMAN IN BLACK (1989)

The first adaptation of Susan Hill's classic ghost story is an atmospheric, nuanced horror film that lingers in the memory long after you finish watching it.

From the performances, to the confident direction by Herbert Wise, to the terrific screenplay by none other than Nigel Kneale (The Quatermass Experiment), this is a near-perfect ghost story, which draws its power from its ability to suggest (with sound design and good cinematography) rather than show, and its terrific use of location shooting. Some of the technical aspects have aged a little bit, but considering that this is a modestly budgeted production made for British TV in the late 80s, this is an impressive, stylish, and surprisingly elegant film.

Reportedly disowned by Susan Hill because of the changes Kneale made to the original novel (including the shocking ending), this is arguably the best adaptation of the story (superior to both the popular stage version and the extravagantly produced 2012 feature starring Daniel Radcliffe). A must see for fans of ghost stories, British cinema, and the original novel.

Text © Ahmed Khalifa. 2017

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