Movie Review: The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
I did not expect to be scared by this movie. I hadn’t seen many previews for it, hadn’t heard of any of the actors in it, hadn’t seen the first movie, and hadn’t thought a whole lot about this movie in particular. It was just another horror movie that was probably not great but that was a good popcorn movie on a weeknight with a free movie ticket (from MoviePass). And yeah, it was just about as mediocre as my feelings going into it were.
The movie takes place in 1941 London and revolves around Eve, a schoolteacher who travels to the countryside with her students to safety during the war. The house they move into is (surprise) haunted, and (surprise) nobody believes her.
As standard as the plot sounds, it did make me jump a few times, and I wasn’t bored while watching it, but that’s pretty much all I can say about it. The plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense once you figure out that the house is haunted. The connections to Eve are far-fetched and Hollywood-perfection, the haunting is confusing (why does the ghost do the things she does? They seem pretty random), but, perhaps most of all, the momentum never really picks up. Whereas in the standard scary movie, the tension rises until the ending, where the bad guys either win or lose in a terrifying battle, in Angel of Death, everything stays pretty much the same. Even in the “finale” scene, it’s not tense enough; I liked the characters enough, but I didn’t really care about what was going on. I’m guessing this movie will win my Ellen Page Award next year.
Stars: 2 out of 5
Why it tried to step up its game in the horror movie genre: The characters actually have backstory
How it failed to step up its game in the horror movie genre: The backstory isn’t enough to carry the movie, which is what it needs to do
The scary creature in The Woman In Black 2: Angel of Death is a ghost, but the best comparison for the film is a Frankenstein’s monster; a film sewn together with scenes ripped off entirely from other horror films the director found lying around. Young child who draws creepy pictures? Check. Eerie children’s toys given close-ups to look creepy and menacing? Check. Obligatory scary scene that turns out to be one character dreaming? Check. Obligatory scary scene that turns out to be one character pranking another character? Check. Stubborn person who will refuse to believe that something weird is going on, even though people are literally dying around her? Check.
While it’s entirely unoriginal, there are some pleasures to be taken from the film. Its World War 2 setting is unusual for horror films, and it provides a nice ominous backdrop for the events that take place. But when all you’re left with is an atmospheric copy-cat you’ll forget you saw in two days, it’s probably safe to pass.
Stars: 2/ 5
How does it compare to other ghost films?
Worse than: Haunter
Better than: Any of the Paranormal Activity sequels