The Woman in Black

Rated 4.0

It’s been a while since Hammer Films has been active. Known primarily for their lush but aggressively exploitative approach to Gothic horror (think bared fangs hovering over deep, heaving cleavage), “Hammer Horror” titles like The Vampire Lovers and Horror of Dracula were essential viewing for nascent horror buffs up through the early ’70s. And then, Hammer time ended. The graveyard fell silent up until recently, when Hammer crept into the multiplex with its American remake of Let the Right One In. But while it was a vampire film—and a solid remake in its own right—regrettably there were none of the studio’s signature motifs. So if nothing else, The Woman in Black is a welcome return to the House of Hammer. The Woman in Black is proto-Hammer (albeit without the rampant sexuality), a slow burn approach to the classic ghost story as a widower (Daniel Radcliffe) takes the train from Victorian London to visit a forbidding estate that looks down on an isolated village with dark, empty eyes; and finds that whatever walks there, walks alone. Radcliffe makes the transition to adult role admirably, and the film itself is satisfactorily atmospheric and chilling. Welcome back, Hammer. Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13