Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pale Imitation

Since we enjoyed the first one, Ms. Spenser wanted to see The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2015). It shares a setting and the style of the original, but it isn't quite the same.

It starts in England during the Blitz - long after the events of the first movie, but still long ago, leaving room for more sequels. A group of small  children and their teachers are relocated from London to the countryside. The lodging that has been arranged for them is a creepy abandoned mansion in the middle of a marsh - looks familiar. The kids are pretty cool with all this, except for one boy whose mother was killed by a German bomb. He's silent, solemn and focused on a drawing he's made of his mother (dressed all in black).

One of the teachers has problems too - she had to give up her illegitimate baby, and now she's hearing noises and seeing things. Understandable in that creepy old house. And she did get to meet a handsome airman from a nearby base. Then the children start dying...

Semi-spoiler: The deaths of the children are much less gruesome (and frequent) than in WiB1. The emotional tension isn't as great either, although the headmistress is a bit of a cold fish. There aren't too many jump-scares, but lots of wandering around in a dreamstate through creepy corridors. And just enough pale figures staring out at the marsh shrouded in fog, the signature move for the series. It even has a happy ending, like the first movie.

So they didn't feel the need to outdo the first movie, or to slavishly copy it. Still an interesting movie, but not a real breakthrough.

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