MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The Woman In Black 2’ Offers Nothing New

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Film: The Woman In Black 2
Starring: Phoebe Fox, Jeremy Irvine
Directed by: Tom Harper

Lacking its original lead and any real sense of purpose, The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death is just another entry in the long line of horror sequels that never should have been made in the first place.

The second World War is in full effect when The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death begins, and hiding from the Nazis amongst other London natives is a woman named Eve. She, with the help of her co-worker Jean, takes it upon herself to evacuate as many children as possible and give them shelter far away from the falling bombs. They travel for what feels like days and eventually end up in the house we all recall from the original film. It’s just as spooky as you remember, as is the marsh surrounding the property, and before long the creepy happenings you might also recall from your last visit begin occurring once more. This time, however, there are a number of children on the property and Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe, star of the first film) is nowhere to be found.

Everything that is scary about The Woman In Black 2 are the same things that made The Woman In Black a success. Whether or not that is a good thing will depend on how you like to experience horror films. On the one hand, you have to applaud Hammer’s ability to create beautifully haunting scenarios filled with plenty of strange bumps in the night. At the same time, you must also consider the fact you’ve seen and done everything once before, which diminishes the impact of any scare that is repeated in the sequel. There are a slew of new thrills littered as well, but to be perfectly honest it’s mainly jump scares and random orchestral hits that feel as if they have been lifted entirely from an unused Insidious script. Even the way the woman interacts with the living world, which is largely done through a young boy who chooses to speak only through the written word, feels too familiar to ever be as scary as the film hopes it will seem.

The one redeeming quality of the film is also something that almost feels too underutilized to do anyone any good. Though it’s never expressed directly, the filmmakers go to great lengths to tie in the fact the second World War is taking place during the film. We learn how one boy, Edward, lost his parents to a bombing. Eve lost her lover this way too, but though the film tries to connect their characters through this fact it’s never leveraged in a meaningful way. Yes, there is a connection between them that some would no doubt liken to that shared between mother and child, but it’s not any stronger or weaker because we know they both lost loved ones in similar ways. Furthermore, it’s never used to help increase the dramatic tension, which makes its appearance early on feel like more of an afterthought than anything else.

It’s hard to understand why this film exists in the first place. Essentially everything revealed to be true about the ghost/spirit at the center of the film was already said in the first, and though we spend almost 100 minutes with her this time around there is almost nothing new to be said about her origin. It feels as if Hammer saw an opportunity to cash in on a mildly popular title and chose to do so without thinking about the necessity of such a film being created. The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death does nothing to further the franchise mythology, nor does it feature a cast talented enough to help the film succeed on dramatic merit alone. It’s a complete waste of time, though admittedly one that is presented beautifully with wonderful attention paid to aesthetics – but a waste of time nonetheless.

GRADE: D

Review written by James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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