Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

"The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death" (2015, Tom Harper, Hammer Films) is the sequel to the 2012 film based on the book by Susan Hill.

Set 40 years after the first film, it is now World War 2 and Eel Marsh House is being used to house a group of evacuee children and their two teachers, who have escaped from the Blitz ravished city of London. Unfortunately for the group, our old child-and-frankly-also-everyone-else-hating ghost friend, Jennet (Leanne Best), is still lurking in the shadows looking to wreak further revenge on anyone and everyone for the injustices done to her.

The younger teacher, Miss Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox), is particularly concerned about a young boy called Edward (Oaklee Pendergast), who's parents died in a bombing, and who has ceased speaking. It isn't long until Eve works out that Jennet has latched onto to Edward, and is exacting revenge on his bullies. A young pilot suffering war trauma, Harry (Jeremy Irvine), also takes a shine to Eve and attempts to help the group out.

Frankly, this film suffers from just being unable to live up to its awesome predecessor. The first film was so wonderfully atmospheric, sad and had quite a surprising number of jumpy bits, that it just can't compete. For one thing, we know the history behind the house already, so there is no dramatic build up. As much as ghosts generally also stick to the same style of haunting, Jennet just seems to be going along with the same schtick but without the bite; the rocking chair scenes, for example, just fail to compare to the original.

I did enjoy the inclusion of the wax cylinders, which are a sneaky nudge and wink to another version of the original film from 1989, however.

As much as there are some good scenes, the film just fails to create the same level of creep factor and the characters are not as relatable as in the original, so it's hard to care too much when things go awry. Although, this film is not scared to axe a few kids!

Frankly, there was no need for Hammer to create a sequel to what was an amazingly effective traditional horror film and by doing so they have just successfully released a humdrum, lacklustre and unnecessary follow up, which just can't compare.

[Image: Hammer Films]

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