The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014)

Director: Tom Harper
Writers: Jon Croker (screenplay), Jon Croker, Susan Hill (writer) (story)
Stars: Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine, Phoebe Fox

The Woman in Black 2 starts off in London in Nineteen forty-one (forty years after the original film) inside a bomb shelter. Air raid sirens are ringing out and there is general unease and nervousness. Miss Parkins (Phoebe Fox) steps out into the streets of London and sees the devastation before her. Before much longer, Miss Parkins and Jean Hogg (a wasted McCrory) are boarding a train heading north with evacuee children. One such child is Edward, who has just been orphaned. Their destination? Cryphin Gifford, or more specifically Eel Marsh House.

On the train Miss Parkins meets Harry (Irvine) who is also traveling to the same destination. Once at Cryphin Gifford they board a bus to get through the village and on to the mansion. Just outside the village they suffer a puncture. Miss Parkins decides to look around (why?) this now abandoned and desolate village, but it would seem that maybe this ruined village is not completely uninhabited. Once at Eel Marsh House, while being shown around, one particular door is open that shouldn’t be. That night after a bad dream, Miss Parkins head to the basement where she glimpses something…or someone.

Now I wasn’t that impressed with the original film, only giving it a six, but there were certainly many positives to it. All the positives the original had, this film is missing. While The Woman in Black 2 is reasonably acted for the most part, there are no stand out performances. As for Helen McCrory, how do you go from Harry Potter and James Bond to this rubbish, surely she can’t be that desperate for the work? But the quality of the acting (which isn’t marvelous) is definitely the highlight of this piece of dressed up dross.

The script is truly awful and how the cast managed their lines I’ll never know. Many people have complained about the lighting here but I personally didn’t find too much fault with it. I think the film was supposed to be dark, but will admit that they perhaps went a little overboard with this. When it’s black, it really is black and it is a struggle to make anything out on the screen. Add in very lame jump scares (which you can see coming), no real plot which is also incredibly predictable and the incredibly slow pace of the film, you can see the cheap intention. Even any special effects are down to a minimum.

You know, it’s at times like these that I actually feel incredibly sorrowful regarding what happened to Hammer Films and the influence they had on many people. After being dead in the water for close on fifteen years, they were bought by an investment consortium, which only seven short years later they sold on to a another consortium. The original buyers never did anything with the brand name, where as at least the new owners are making films. Given the quality of those films, it’s hard to say who the better owners really were.

Almost enough to make you a shed a tear sometimes and pray for that big lottery win so that she could be owned by someone who cares about the name and history, and isn’t just after a quick and easy buck. While Hammer films were never terribly glitzy, or well made, or had the best scripts or even production values, they did had two key ingredients. Class actors and style. None of the recent offerings from the new company (won’t dignify the new owners with stating it as the same company) have either except for one notable exception.

Not having style or solid dependable actors as well as none of the aforementioned does not instill confidence in the quality of their productions. Sad days indeed for a former powerhouse of the industry. After such useless offerings as the Let Me In remake and The Quiet Ones, The Woman in Black 2 is no better and possibly their worst film yet. It is a cheap lazy cash-grab which tries to ride the coat-tails of the moderately successful original. The likes of Cushing and Lee must be turning in their graves.

The Sage’s Rating:

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