The Woman in Black is a mediocre ghost story that flirts with some interesting ideas about faith but doesn’t satisfy as either a horror film or as a serious examination of religious faith. Its attempt to resurrect a tone and mood more familiar from older horror films is admirable in an age of gore-fests, but the film is more sleepy than spooky for much of its running time. Only horror movie novices will find much to like in Black. For the rest of us, it will be quickly forgotten.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity: “For God’s sake”; “what the hell”; “oh my God.”
  • Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: A man clips a cigar; numerous scenes of drinking.
  • Sex/Nudity: None.
  • Violence/Crime: Three girls walk toward attic windows and leap to their deaths; shot of blood on a sheet; causes of children’s deaths described in death notices; girl who drank lye seeks treatment; a dead body hangs from a beam, and we hear the snapping of a neck; a girl is consumed by flames; a corpse is retrieved from a watery grave and wrapped in a sheet.
  • Religion/Morals: Arthur reads about séances and contact with the spirit world; Daily visits a mausoleum where his child is buried and talks about how it has a place for him; a woman is overcome by the spirit of her dead child; Daily says he doesn’t believe in spirits and cautions Arthur about charlatans and about opening the door to superstition; he says that when we die, “we go up there,” as he points to heaven, and that “we don’t stay down here”; he says his son is either in a better place, or he’s lost; scrawled words on pages include “get thee to hell ye harlot” and “God protect me”; glimpses of dead people bearing their mortal wounds; old correspondence reveals a woman who vowed to never forgive someone who had wronged her, and her wish that the person “rot in hell.”

Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@hotmail.com.