Following the success of the original movie from 2012, The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
had the makings of another great horror film: the creepy sets and atmosphere, a well-chosen cast, and trailers that made you want to see what the angry spirit was up to now. I was quite excited to receive the Blu-ray. The original film starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter
franchise) was haunting and full of great scares that were reminiscent of more classic horror films. Upon the start of the sequel; however, I was sadly disappointed.
Although the visuals were there and the actors did a fine job with what they were given, the scares were not, which let's face it, is the most important part of a horror film. It felt disjointed at points and dragged on at others. The first third of the film to me felt wasted and nothing really occurred until forty-five minutes in.
The script and story itself wasn't bad; it was actually decently interesting, but something about the delivery was off.
In the sequel, forty years after the events of the first film, a group of children are evacuated from London during WWII to Eel Marsh House, led by headmistress Jean Hogg (Helen McCrory) and Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox).
Upon arrival they awaken the vengeful spirit of Jennet, the Woman in Black (Leanne Best). They are joined and helped by pilot Harry Burnstow (Jeremy Irvine). Eve believes in the ghost from the beginning, even when no one else will, and she struggles to protect the children, especially young Edward (Oaklee Pendergast) who recently lost his parents.
The storyline in a way seems a bit overly familiar, because everything that's happening is because of the same events viewers learned about in the first film: Jennet watched her son die after drowning in a sinking carriage in the marsh, and then committed suicide, remaining behind as a ghost to haunt the creepy house.
I understand the idea of connecting the two films, but there were parts that just seemed really repetitive as well, such as the disturbing dolls and the empty rocking chair, though there were some interesting new elements that were eerie, such as the rot on the ceiling and hands reaching from the depths of the water to drown victims. However, most, at least for myself did not deliver a lot of jumps or scares.
The other problem I had with the film was that parts of it were predictable. It's obvious from the beginning that Eve has been through some kind of traumatic event, but the reveal was rather unimaginative in my opinion.
That being said, there were some surprises, such as the truth about Harry's past. I also was surprised by the ending, though I wasn't really impressed by it story-wise (the visuals were quite nice, however).
Another problem I had, though it is possible it was a problem with the disc itself, is I found the whole movie to be way too dark. I understand the need for darkness to add to the ominous feeling of a film, but at some points it was so dark I couldn't see any of what was happening and ended up using captions and brightening the television screen (to be completely fair this was probably detrimental to my viewing experience and created some of the disconnect I felt from the film, which is the reason I mention it).
If you are fan of the genre and especially of the first film, I say give it a shot. I think there are probably a lot varying responses to the film. I truly believe some people will like it, as it did have a lot of the qualities of the first film. Just don't expect to be on the edge of your seat through the whole experience, as the movie lacked a lot of the tension and suspense of the original. Scary it is not. If you are looking for a truly creepy ghost story, stick with the original film. Special Features:
Pulling Back the Veil: The Making of The Woman in Black 2 Angel of Death
- This feature is about 14 minutes and was really interesting to learn about how the film was made. It talks about getting the idea for the sequel and taking it to script. The director and producers talk about things like pacing it as a ghost story and wanting it to be different than the original. The actors also talk about their experiences, and the crew talk about working with them. There are some fun behind the scenes bits about hair and makeup, such as with the Woman in Black behind her veil, and making the kids look grubby. The production designer also talks about getting a bunch of dead flies to throw around the set. It's got a little bit of everything. The Woman in Black 2 Angel of Death: Chilling Locations
- This feature is about five minutes and is of the actors and crew talking about the locations they shot in, including interiors and exteriors, and a bit about how they affected the look and atmosphere of the film. They also talked about revisiting a few places from the original film and how they dressed the sets with signage as well as props such as the rocking chair and creepy toys. This also shows the cast and crew filming behind the scenes. Deleted Scene
- There is one deleted scene of Eve looking around. It really doesn't reveal anything and was unnecessary. Sneak Peek
- There are a few horror movie trailers selectable from the menu, as well as one for season one of Sleepy Hollow
and a promo for Relativity Media. Packaging:
The blu-ray comes in a regular blue clamshell case covered by a slipcase. It includes one disc and a paper with the Digital HD code.