The Woman in Black (1989)


This movie is based on what's known as the "longest running play in London" with the same name. I heard a lot of positive stuff on this flick about how it's "scary" and such, so I got a hold of it and gave it a look-see. I have to admit that those critics weren't kidding when they said it was scary. Although I was never really "scared" at any moment, it did manage to give me some chills at times (which hasn't happened since I saw The Eye for the first time). The stuff in this movie is the kinda stuff that'd scare the hell outta me as a kid.

The actual "woman in black" may not seem very menacing from the look of the cover, but I assure you that once you actually view the film, just with a simple glance she'll send shivers down your spine. At least that's how it was for me. I guess it's just the way she looked that made me remember how I depicted "ghosts" would look like as a youngin'. This movie manages to be quite effective for little-to-no effects and with the use of the simplest of things, like the sound of a carriage tipping over and the screams of death that seemingly come from nowhere, and by the simple, but effective, look of the "woman in black" who really is no more than a woman with white pale white make-up and an old black dress.

The story takes place in the early 1900's and centers around a young lawyer who's sent by his firm to settle an estate after a widow dies. He goes to the quiet town and is given hints by the townspeople of what lies ahead if he chooses to go to the home of the dead widow. He obviously ignores them, because he has to do his job and chooses to stay the night in the home instead of going to an motel in town (bad mistake). He's then tortured by sounds of death, moving objects, and the mysterious "woman in black". Eventually this skeptic reaches the point of near-insanity and torches the home before his job is through. Returning back home he thinks he is safe from the wrath of the haunts of the house, but is he really? Even in his own bed, he has nightmares of her...

For a movie that originally aired on UK television back in the late 80's, I really enjoyed it, and it's incredibly rare for me to like a made-for-TV movie. It's got a dark eerie mood to it that's set once the man sets foot in the small town. Most of the movie takes place in and around the home, where there's nothing but fog, which gives it a spooky feel, especially at night. This flick proves that you don't necessarily need a big budget to give big scares, and I'm glad I saw it. While watching the movie I was hoping it wouldn't have a crappy end like most horror flicks, and I was pleased to find that it didn't. I know I didn't expect it to end like that.

I decided to go for a 7-rating here. The only thing I didn't like about the flick is the fact that it could have had a little more variety when it came to the haunting in the home. I'm sure some might not find this flick to be scary since everything is kept simple, but I thought the simplicity was very effective and it sparked some past childhood nightmares, but of course that ended once I finished watching the flick.

If you're looking for a good a solid scary tale, and don't mind small budgets, then check this baby out!
If you're looking for a good a solid scary tale, and don't mind small budgets, then check this baby out!