When The Woman In Black was released in 2012, I was plagued with nightmares for weeks after. Yes, I understand how pathetic that sounds for a then 20 year old, but it disturbed me. A lot. The after effect of seeing the film though was fuelled further by the fact that the night after going to the cinema, my shelf in my university room decided to collapse in the middle of the night. Needless to say, this did noting to calm my nerves after being terrified the night before whilst seeing The Woman In Black. With the announcement of the author Susan Hill penning a sequel to the film that was to be released in January 2015, I was looking forward to experiencing the next chapter of this frightening tale. I may have been almost eight months late to the party, but the other week I finally got round to seeing The Woman In Black: Angel of Death.
I had quite high expectations when the film first started rolling. Although the first one left me with nightmares for a good three weeks after seeing it, it is one of my favourite horror films and I find the story a truly fascinating one. I hoped that the scares would be just as terrifying as in the first film, and the plot just as gripping. One of these two things was fulfilled with my expectations. The plot was a brilliant one. Although many would say that the setting of the haunted Eel Marsh House becoming a safe haven for evacuated children during the Blitz in World War II is slightly predictable, the story of two teachers and the group of children that move to the home of the Woman in Black to escape a bombed out London I feel was the perfect follow on from the story of the first film. The atmosphere and setting of the period was done perfectly, with every attention to detail being made in order to make the film feel as authentic as possible. Despite the setting and the general plot achieving thumbs up all round, I couldn’t help but feel there was something missing from this sequel.
The deaths of the children targeted by the tortured soul of the Woman in Black are just as gory, if not more gruesome than those witnessed in the first film. The jumps nearly sent me through the ceiling and sent my heart into a frenzy. Add these factors in with the atmosphere and plot that, as I’ve already mentioned, I was a big fan of, and you’ve got yourself the perfect horror experience. Yet, something didn’t sit right with me about the film. I enjoyed it, but I felt it could have been creepier. The majority of the jumps and moments of tension had already been seen before in the first film. Certain scenes in various rooms give the audience the same scares that were just repeats from the film’s predecessor. This time I couldn’t tell what was going to happen because I’d watched too many horror films, it was purely because they were basically the same as what I had seen for the first time three and a half years ago.
Now of course there is the argument that there is only so much that can be done within the horror genre, particularly when you are making a sequel. However, I just felt more could have been done with The Woman In Black: Angel of Death, and there was plenty of potential for more original scares to take place. The lack of presence of the Woman in Black I feel contributed to this slightly. She is by no means in every shot in the original film, however she made an appearance far more than in the sequel. Perhaps it would have been scarier if she had been present more, who knows.
As much as I enjoyed The Woman In Black: Angel of Death, it’s not going to be like other horror films I’ve seen where I feel the desperate need to watch it again within a few weeks. It also hasn’t left me trembling every time the lights go off at night, but that may be my having grown up a bit rather than a reflection on the film’s scare factor. I personally feel that the story of the Woman in Black should be left in peace now. I don’t see where else the story could go on from the end of the sequel. I would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. An enjoyable horror experience, that’s just missing something to give it that extra bite.