Critic Reviews

62

Metascore

Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
88
In rare cases - and The Woman in Black is one of them - a story may be more atmospheric when less is left to the imagination.
80
If the story is laid out none too subtly, its straightforward purity is, finally, its greatest strength. Screenwriter Jane Goldman has adapted Susan Hill's 1983 novel (which spawned a radio series, TV movie and long-running West End stage play) with economy, placing a premium on eeriness, not gore.
80
"No Country for Young Kids" would be just as suitable a title for The Woman in Black, a hoot of an old-fashioned British horror film.
80
The pleasures of the period ghost story The Woman in Black are something like the creepy shiver of delight you get from Edward Gorey's illustrated poem "The Gashlycrumb Tinies."
75
As opposed to modern horror flicks like the "Saw" movies, where gruesome violence can almost blunt fears, The Woman in Black is a tasteful, old-school frightener, emphasizing suspense and foreboding over blood and guts.
75
The film, a handsome nerve-jangler co-produced under the storied Hammer horror banner, amps up the scares without turning them into something completely stupid. Success!
75
Not since young Hutter arrived at Orlok's castle in "Nosferatu" has a journey to a dreaded house been more fearsome than the one in The Woman in Black.
70
There's not a lot that's new about the terrors he faces - the director uses time-honored techniques to keep you on edge, every one of which graced Hammer films of yore. But happily for the picture, there's a reason they're time-honored. And keep you on edge, they definitely do.
70
Director James Watkins (Eden Lake) treats the material with surprising reverence, generating good clean scares from atmosphere and character revelations rather than shock editing or gore.
70
Helmer James Watkins ("Eden Lake") and scripter Jane Goldman judiciously combine moves from the classic scare-'em-ups with new tricks from recent J-horror pictures to retell Susan Hill's oft-adapted Victorian gothic pastiche.
70
The New York Times
Less gore is more here, and what a relief. The Woman in Black isn't especially scary, but it keeps you on edge, and without the usual vivisectionist imagery.
67
An old-fashioned, tastefully constrained supernatural thriller, The Woman In Black embraces the elements of gothic horror movies with pleasing seriousness.
63
The Woman in Black doesn't break new ground, but in its suggestions of fine film ghost stories, from "The Innocents" to "The Others" and "The Orphanage," it works you over with riveting restraint.
60
Wall Street Journal
The landscape is dire, the architecture is haunted, children disappear by the dozens and antique toys inexplicably spark to life. That Mr. Radcliffe doesn't is part of the problem.
60
Though "Woman" never rises above its status as a traditional genre thriller, that's perfectly fine. It was made with intelligence and commitment, and it achieves its goal: to keep us looking over our shoulders long after we've left.
60
Subtlety may not be Watkins' strong suit, but he knows how to frame a scene for maximum tension and dread.
50
If, in the end, the movie fails to generate much beyond several crackling jump scares and a nicely gothic mise-en-scene, it has enough mood, and enough Radcliffe, to carry us through the mist.
50
The Woman in Black has lovely period atmosphere. Unfortunately, it doesn't have much else besides atmosphere.
50
In the end, The Woman in Black displays a higher regard for the material makeup of gruesome-looking Victorian dolls than it does for the psychological turmoil of its characters, making one wish that some of the money it budgeted for cranes and fog machines had been offered to a script doctor.
50
In his first starring role post-Harry Potter, Radcliffe must carry the movie with little dialogue and practically nothing to play other than fear, constantly reacting to creepy toys that suddenly spring to life and reflections in windows that shriek unexpectedly at him.
50
The film is wonderfully atmospheric and full of little frights, but its overall impact is only glancing.
50
Without Radcliffe at the center looking scared out of his wits, The Woman In Black would seem even slighter than it already does.

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