Movie review: ‘The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death” |

Movie review: ‘The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death”

Phoebe Fox stars in "The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death."
Nick Wall | Angelfish Films


* 1/2 (C-)

Starring Phoebe Fox, Jeremy Irvine, Helen McCrory, Adrian Rawlins, Leanne Best, Ned Dennehy, Oaklee Pendergast

Rated PG-13, Horror, 98 minutes

Time stands still for a vengeful ghost in this sequel to the 2012 adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel. This first film, something of a sleeper hit, starring Daniel Radcliffe as a turn-of-the-century solicitor readying a creepy old house for sale, took in $130 million dollars worldwide. Praised for its long, spooky passages without dialog, this follow-up is mostly talk and few scares.

Filmed in monochromatic greys on black, the movie provided an opportunity to test my new nighttime, high-vision glasses. For the uninitiated, the glasses are a particular shade of yellow that both dampens the refraction of oncoming headlights while also causing scenery to stand out in detail (hint to filmmakers — add a little yellow).

Thanks to the glasses, the film’s dull, murky palette became easily discernible. However, no matter how improved my vision, the film’s lack of coherent action practically rendered the point a moot one.

It’s 1941 and war-torn Londoners are sending their children off to the country, where the kids will presumably be safe from Germany’s nightly bombing runs.

Phoebe Fox and Helen McCrory portray the teachers bringing a dozen children the “Eel Marsh House,” an isolated mansion situated along a foggy coast dotted with bogs. The decrepit house is haunted by the same specter that made life so difficult and dangerous for Radcliffe’s character.

This time the “Woman in Black” barely shows herself, and rarely needs to, as she exerts a psychic influence over both Ms. Parkinson (Fox) and the children. Unable to persuade the stern headmistress that supernatural forces are affecting the children, Ms. Parkinson seeks support from a handsome young pilot (Jeremy Irvine), whom is stationed nearby and frequently comes round to call on her.

Every character is given a sympathetic backstory, a ploy that soon becomes tiresome because supporting these sad tales cuts deeply into the film’s ghost time. Those horror scenes depicted are predictable and rarely frightening, however, they are predictably silly.

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