Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is a young lawyer who is depressed by the loss of his beautiful wife after giving birth to a son. His son, now grown to a toddler, draws pictures of him with a sad face. He is assigned to prepare a large house for sale on a marsh and travels to an obscure village where he is shunned by most of the townspeople. He visits the Eel Marsh House, the estate of the late Alice Drabow, to look it over, but finds his job has grown more perilous as it is haunted by the ghost of a woman scorned. He learns from the villagers that the ghost of the woman in black seeks revenge against their children because her child was taken away from her. Kipps is befriended by Sam (Ciaran Hinds) and his wife Elizabeth (Janet McTeer). They, too, have lost a son, and they help the lawyer to investigate the background of the estate and what happened.
written by KristelClaire
Three pretty little girls, all dressed in what looks like nursery dresses, are playing in the nursery room on their own, with porcelain dolls. Suddenly, they stare to each other, and then, they look to the front wall. There is nobody there, and the day is clear. Without uttering any word, they stand up, hold their hands and go to the window wall. They open the three-tiered windowpane, and they jump on their own accord. There is a moment of silence. Suddenly, a female scream is heard - supposedly of the person who has discovered the dead bodies of the three little girls.
Cut to Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a young agent. His boss, Mr ... , tells him on rude terms that this is his last opportunity, as this realty company is not a charity: if he makes another mistake, it will be his last, he won't be given another opportunity.
Arthur says good-bye to his 7-year-old son, Joseph (Misha Handley). This is a serious boy, who will be left alone by Arthur's work commitment. The nurse (Jessica Raine) will take care of him meanwhile. Joseph has drawn himself, his father, and his mother in the form of an angel atop a cloud in a piece of paper entitled "tuesday - no capital here". His father asks Joseph why he is so sad, and Joseph says that he just is.
Arthur travels by train. He talks to a fellow passenger, and afterwards, stares at a little girl (Indira Ainger) who is also travelling with them. Arthur reminiscences about when his son was born. The boy was perfectly alrighty, as the nurse pronounces (Lucy May Barker) proudly "it's a boy" but the doctor (Andy Robb), tells him straightaway that he is so sorry, that nothing could have been done for her. Immediately, Arthur sees how a blood-stained sheet is used to cover the horrified face of his late wife, Stella Kipps (Sophie Stuckey).
The fellow passenger, Mr Bentley (Roger Allam) advises to take a cab. He also invites him to dine with him and his wife the following day.
The town is dark, and everybody looks terrified, sullen. Parents tell their children to get inside when they look to the visitor.
At the local inn, Kipps is put into the attic - the place which the three little girls jumped from at the beginning of the film-. Mr Fisher (Shaun Dooley) looks like a rude uncompromising host. Mr Bentley will recommend him to leave town as soon as possible, but Mr Kipps tells him that he will need to stay up until Friday the least to make and serious and fair evaluation of all the items within the house.
A cab drivers takes Kipps to the mansion. There is a thin strip of white soil linking the town to the lonely isolated mansion which zig-zags among the marshes. The driver leaves him right outside the plot of land which is occupied by the mansion and its land. When Arthur tells him to pick him up at 3 o'clock, he says that it'll have to be at five, because of the tide.
Arthur enters the property. There seems to be nobody at the home, so he gets up to the second floor. He takes a look at Joseph's drawing before setting to work in front of a pile of papers. Inside one of the bedrooms, he sees a nest of ravens. A raven rushes out flying, so it startles him. Arthur thinks he's heard something, so he looks out of the window. A black shadow appears on the garden, among the dangling tombstones. The raven flies around and softly lands on the bed. When Arthur looks out again, there is nobody in the cemetery. Arthur rushes out. The thick fog prevents him from seeing anything, or anyone for that matter. The feeling of something terrible about to happen is omminous... but it's only the driver, who has just arrived to pick Arthur up. He tells him to be careful. Arthur thought that he had heard the faraway cries of children, and the driver tells him that some boys died drowned in the marshes.
Arthur runs to the police station in order to denounce the person who has trespassed the property. The constable Collins (David Burke) says that there is no villager who would go to that mansion on their own accord. The constable gets inside to look at something. At that moment, two children arrive with a very sick child, Victoria Hardy (Alexia Osborne), who is spitting blood. Arthur screams, but he can't do anything for the child. Victoria dies in his arms.
Back to his lodgings, Arthur thinks he hears the soft cries of a woman, so he calls out for Mrs Fisher (Mary Stockley), but it's a pet raven which mimicks the whimpering voice of a woman. Mrs Fisher serves him a drink.
At the dinner, the conversation is a little ackward, but everything seems to go well, until Elisabeth Fisher has a fit and has to be sedated. In a later conversation, the husband says that there are many superstitions in the town, but that everything is an illusion. Later that night, Arthur sees Elisabeth caressing one of her dogs, caressing and soothing it in an all-white laced craddle.
Arthur goes looking for Mr Jerome (Tim McMullan), but what he finds is a terrified girl imprisoned in a room (Cathy Sara), who tells Arthur to let her alone because he has killed Victoria. The villagers cry for another lost girl, but Bentley disregards their pain as superstition. Bentley drives Arthur around in his motorcar, and this is the second that the images focus on a cross planted at a side of the watery path. Bentley takes Arthur to the house, and offers to pick him up at 11, but Arthur prefers to spend the night there. Bentley lends him his dog.
There, Arthur lights some candles. One of the rooms can't be unlocked with any of the keys, so Arthur turns his attention to a heavy wooden box with Nathaniel Drablow written on it.
Arthur makes a daguerotype go round, and he sees for a split second, the dark eyes of the woman in black. Scribbled photographs: a shadow passes by, and the dog begins to bark. Arthur follows the dog, who barks close to the tombstone of Nathaniel Drablow (Ashley Foster). When they go back to the mansion, Arthur sees the Woman in Black (Liz White), retreating from close to the window. When Arthur goes to that room, he looks out and sees the dilapidated view. Right on his back, the Woman in Black appears and immediately disappears. He doesn't see her, but he feels something so he looks around. In a wooden box, he finds cards addressed to Nathaniel from his birth mother, The Woman in Black, signing as "MUMMY". That woman was Jennet, who had a tombstone alongside Nathaniel's. Through the documents, it looks like Jennet gave her child on adoption (as she was deemed mentally unfit to raise her child). It is also revealed that Nathaniel is adopted by Jannet's sister Alice who keeps this as a secret and raises Nathaniel as her own son. Through many letters, Arthur comes to know that Jannet was very displeased as she wasn't allowed to visit her son. After the accident that took the life of Nathaniel, his body was never found in the marshlands.
Jannet appears as a hidden figure in the photos of the Drablows (Alisa Khazanova), with Nathaniel as the child in the photographs.
Arthur falls asleep, and the shadow of the Woman in Black gets close, but the dog barks and scares it. Arthur wakes up and walks along the dark corridor up to the locked room. He remembers the locked room when his wife died. He tries to open this door, but can't. He goes down to look for something to open it, but suddenly, it is wide open. He picks an axe and a candle. A rocking chair is moving on its own, and for a second, the audience can see The Woman in Black rocking herself.
Under the wallpaper, observed by the mechanic toys, he discloses ...YOU COULD HAVE SAVED HIM... written in blood. Going back to a window, he can see clearly the shrillingly screaming face of Jennet. Outside, in the rainy night, he can see the images of many dead children, rotten and anguished. Running back to the mansion, he can see the black footprints of the Woman in Black, and he follows them to the room. He sees Jennet hanging herself.
Leaving the room, he sees the Woman in Black approaching from the other end of the corridor. Arthur encloses himself in a room, but Nathaniel grows from the bed. When he tries to leave the house, he finds Bentley who has arrived to pick him up.
Back to the town, Arthur sees Jerome's house on fire. He gets into the house and inside, he can see how a girl, Lucy Jerome (Aoife Doherty) sets herself on fire, pronted by the Woman in Black, who is present there encouraging her without words. Arthur can't do anything to save her.
Bentley offers some consolation to Arthur. Elizabeth tells Arthur about Jennet in front of her tombstone. The children can speak through her, and they say that the Woman in Black was always present to make all those children kill themselves one way or another as her own child was lost too. Bentley arrives when Elizabeth has another fit while repeating "SHE IS COMING" over and over again. Before passing out, Elisabeth draws a picture of Arthur with his son beside a train engine (Arthur recognizes himself from the earlier pictures made by his son).
Arthur convinces Bentley to help him find the body of Nathaniel and reunite him to his mother by giving him a proper burial. He ties himself with a rope to Bentley's car. Arthur goes in the black slimey goo of the marshlands. Finally, Bentley pulls Arthur out, and he takes out what seems a hidden wagon, and within it, the body of Nathaniel.
Arthur enshrouds Nathaniel's body. Then he puts the postcards sent to him by his mother and other mechanical toys around the dead body as he waits for The Woman in Black.
Bentley sees his dead son entering a room. When he follows his son and enters the room, he is imprisoned and Arthur can't hear him. The corridor gets even more darkened. The Woman in Black shouts to and scares Arthur, but suddenly she disappears. The other door also opens, setting Bentley free.
They bury Nathaniel and Jennet's body together.
In the next scene it seems that the Woman in Black still can't forgive.
Some days afterwards, the two friends receive Joseph with his nurse at the train station. The nurse goes to pay for tickets back to London as Arthur and Bentley talk.
Joseph releases his hand and jumps to the track while a train is approaching.Arthur sees the Woman in Black and then his eyes dart to his son walking on the track. Arthur jumps to the trackline to save Joseph but the train runs over. Bentley can see all the dead children and the screaming Woman in Black at the other side of the track, through the gaps of the moving wagons.
Arthur is holding Joseph in an empty train station.
Stella welcomes them both and they tenderly walk on together along the track.