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Tag Archive: Woman in Black


Marchlands cast - can you find Alice

With a television series featuring Doctor Who and Arrow’s Alex Kingston, Life on Mars’s Dean Andrews, Luke Skywalker’s pal Wedge Antilles, and the lead actress from Attack the Block, you just can’t go wrong.  And it’s really hard to beat an old British cottage near the woods as the setting when you’re creating a ghost story.  Add to it one of borg.com’s most discussed subjects: a movie about a creepy little girl, and you’re in for a good show.  That could not be more true than with the UK mini-series Marchlands.  UK production company ITV and 20th Century Fox created an expertly constructed five-part, supernatural drama mini-series that traverses three families living in different eras in the same British house.

Marchlands title card

Marchlands first aired in the UK in 2010, but it hasn’t been released in the States yet. In fact the only way to view it is to buy it from a British online retailer along with a DVD player that will play DVDs from Europe.   Along with watching all the other series from the UK long before they cross the lake to America, going the extra mile to get access to these series is well worth the effort.

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Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Regular readers will recall that one of our most-anticipated films of the season opened this weekend.  The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and borg.com favorite Ciaran Hinds (everything!), is a classic ghost story set in the late Victorian era, and offers up plenty of spooky atmosphere and a handful of startling horror sequences, though ultimately nothing too terribly terrifying.

Based on the 1983 novel by Susan Hill, and following a successful run as a play in London, The Woman in Black recounts the tale of Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), a young, widowed solicitor hired to settle the affairs at the creepy, isolated Eel Marsh House in the equally creepy village of Crythin Gifford.  The film opens in true gothic fashion, with the young protagonist’s journey into a landscape that is both literally and metaphorically haunting and despondent.  Here, the unearthly fenlands and heavy-handed Victorian furnishings are used to excellent effect, setting the scene for a tale of loss and decrepitude.

From his arrival in Crythin Gifford, Kipps is made bluntly unwelcome by nearly everyone he meets: his innkeeper, his local employment office, and the brooding villagers in turn.  Only Mr. Daily (Hinds), a worldly stranger he meets on the train, makes any effort at friendship or hospitality, and will become a welcome ally during the course of the film.  Finally at work at Eel Marsh, Kipps discovers a house with a secret, suffused not just with damp and cobwebs, but with old memories and desperate grief turned to vengeance.  As Kipps works in the mansion, the titular Woman in Black works her deadly influence on the villagers.

Since a great deal of the fun of a good ghost story is the unraveling of the backstory (and, even more importantly, since that backstory makes up about 80% of the plot here), we won’t reveal more about the actual storyline.  Purists will want to note that apparently the story presented in the film is a rather sharp departure from that of the novel, so consider yourself prepared.

This is a gothic-styled ghost story (with actual ghosts), in the vein of The Others or The Turn of the Screw, so it relies on building an unsettling atmosphere, more than in depicting graphic horror.  The scares here are along the lines of what we saw in The Sixth Sense, although sadly, if you’ve seen the previews, you’ve already seen essentially every startling scene.  There is one brief moment of gore, hardly enough to warrant the PG-13 rating (though more sensitive viewers may find the plot sufficient for that).  The story is likewise somewhat thin and fairly predictable–yet The Woman in Black managed to deliver an ending I found immensely satisfying.

The highlight of the movie (aside from the incredibly grim Victorian set dressing at Eel Marsh, which deserves attention come awards season) was probably the performance handed in by veteran British character actor Ciaran Hinds.  Playing the only villager willing to confide in Kipps, Hinds adds a needed gravity to the film as a man of reason, determined to deal with his grief on his own terms.

If you’re looking for scares galore, graphic gore, and a film that will propel you screaming from your seats–this isn’t that movie.  If you’re a fan of costume dramas; misty, foggy landscapes; and traditional hauntings borne from compelling backstory, you’ll probably find The Woman in Black worth the ticket price.

By Jason McClain (@JTorreyMcClain)

I’m not sure about you, but I’m always looking for a good movie to see in January and February.  (If you’ve already seen all of the Oscar nominated films, they can be a pretty bleak movie going months.)  In the spirit of our examination of scary movies leading up to Halloween, I have a feeling this movie will be in the wheelhouse of the writers of borg.com as well as the readers.  Here’s the trailer:

So, just to recap, here are the elements of the movie we can see in the trailer:

1)  Daniel Radcliffe

Boom.  If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you’re probably already sold.  If you’re a fan of English men with sideburns that ride in horse drawn carriages, and really, who isn’t, then you’re really in luck.

2)  Weird Dolls

If you watch Doctor Who you probably saw this season’s “Night Terrors.”  I don’t need to tell you that dolls coming to life or just watching you from a corner make everything feel eerie.

3)  A Poem Slowly Read

It took a couple of listens, but anytime you have a vaguely sounding nursery rhyme spoken beneath a bunch of scary images, it brings out a feeling of dread.  Add in the fact that the voice is a young girl and it gets worse, much worse.  Which brings us to the last item from the trailer…

4)  OHMYGOSH MORE CREEPY GIRLS

Get out of my head people.  I’m tired of being scared.  I’m beginning to think that the worst possible place on the planet to be at any moment would be a Justin Bieber concert, and while just listening to the music and maybe dancing in place, because you know, it’s the Biebs, every single tween girl turns around as one and stares at you with eyes that have turned completely black.

Shudder.  Never mind.  Pay no attention to those last sentences.  I don’t want that movie being made.  Well, at least until I get to see The Woman in Black.  Give it a few months until after I see this and then make it.  I’m sure by then, I’ll be ready to be scared again.

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