'The Woman in Black': Family Film Guide
Thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign, everyone who watches television knows that Daniel Radcliffe is starring in the Hammer Films horror flick "The Woman In Black." Naturally, this means tweens and even older elementary-aged kids may be interested in seeing Radcliffe in his first post-Potter role. After all, the Boy Who Lived already vanquished You Know Who in a really intense, PG-13-rated final installment to the Potter saga, so what's a little veiled Victorian ghost? Depending on the age of your kids, a lot actually, because a boy wizard trying to defeat a known villain is vastly different than Arthur Kipps, a young attorney dealing with the estate of a mysterious woman with a haunted estate. He must do battle not with a wand but against a menacing ethereal force that somehow causes kids to kill themselves. Here are four (other) reasons to hit pause before letting your tween go see "Woman in Black." (SPOILER ALERT!)
1. Dead Children: Yes, we know loyal Potter fans have watched a few of their favorite Hogwarts students succumb to the Dark Lord's forces, but in "WIB," the children are just regular kids living in a Victorian-era English market town. The children (all under 10) die in horrific ways, from jumping out of windows to immolating themselves. In one scene, a girl who has poisoned herself spews blood and then convulses in Radcliffe's arms. That's way more violent than Cedric Diggory receiving an Avada Kedavra.
2. Suicidal Tendencies: In addition to the various children who are lured to their deaths via drowning, fire, poisoning, train crashes, the major subplot revolves around a suicidal mother who kills herself in order to purposely haunt the village where her own child died in a tragic accident. The Woman in Black is relentless in her pursuit of vengeance and anyone who stands in her way will find a child they love in harm's way.
3. Scream Like a Banshee: "The Woman in Black" is an old-school horror flick. There are no gory scenes of people being eviscerated or forced to select between torture devices. It's all about the creepy (and relentless) sounds and images of terror. Like the Raven's tap-tap-tapping, there are various eerie creaks and squeaks and screams of horror that Radcliffe's character hears -- not to mention the quick glimpses of the Woman in Black or the ghosts of the village's dead children. Anyone who doesn't think dolls and windup-toys are frightening will change their mind during this movie.
4. Happy Endings Are For Wizards: Sure there is an ending, and it provides a sense of closure to the story, but it's not exactly happy. Harry defeated Voldemort and audiences got to see him, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny getting their happily ever after together at King's Cross. Kids who need a happy resolution in movies will not process the end of "The Woman In Black." We won't give away what happens, but suffice it to say all is not well.