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The 2012 film version of The Woman in Black, produced by Hammer Horror.

Arthur Kipps, a grieving widowed man, is sent to settle the affairs of a deceased widow. The locals seem to be in a rush to hurry him along his way, but he resolves to do the job he came to do.

It isn't until later, as bodies begin to pile up -- upon the bodies already there -- that Arthur learns why.


This film contains examples of:

  • Adult Fear: The children who kill themselves at the Woman in Black's behest.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The protagonist and his son die, but they're reunited with his wife and seemingly happy to be together. Also, unlike the rest of the children the Woman has taken, they're free to move on to the afterlife. However the Bittersweet Ending is Bitter enough to veer into Downer Ending territory --Arthur and Joseph are dead, after all, and the Woman in Black will continue to torment the village.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three girls in the prologue
  • Blood From the Mouth: The lye victim, in a severe example.
  • Collector of the Strange
  • Creepy Child: Any of Jennet's victims, post mortem.
  • Creepy Doll: GODDAMN EVERYWHERE.
  • Dark Is Evil
  • Death by Childbirth: Kipps' wife.
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: See below.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The titular woman steals children out of revenge against her son being kept away from her...but the children she's stealing have nothing to do with the matter.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Eye contact with the ghost causes children to calmly kill themselves in the most immediate -- and usually terrible -- way possible.
    • Jennet herself, after first being denied any contact with her son, and then her son dying in an accident in the bog and never having his body recovered.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The title character appears to let the Kipps family pass on, rather than stay on Earth like the rest of her victims, out of gratitude for Arthur's effort to appease her and sacrificing his life in an attempt to save his son.
    • Or maybe the only reason Kipps' child didn't join the Woman's ghost army is because his father died with him, trying to protect him.
    • Or the presence of Kipp's wife, who was already foreshadowed as a Guardian Angel, made it impossible for the Woman to claim them.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Daily's dog can sense whenever wrathful Jennet is nearby, or one of her ghost kids.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Kipp spends the last act of the movie trying to reunite Jennet and her son, hoping it will put her at peace. Nope. Though it might have earned him the result in Even Evil Has Standards.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The final shot of the film seems to imply this. If you have kids, it's particularly unsettling.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you watch carefully (or pause judiciously) you can catch little glimpses of the Woman in the background of a lot of scenes. Usually leading up to a Jump Scare, but not always. Notably when Arthur is running off into the woods at the beginning, the camera passes by her silhouette, but if you're not paying close attention you might mistake it for a tree, but there are others.
  • Ghostly Goals: The titular ghost exists to cause the children of the nearby town to kill themselves. Arthur believes that she's doing this because she wants to be reunited with her son, and he risks his life to accomplish this. The reality is that the Woman in Black can never let go of her grief and fury, can never forgive her sister for the incident on the marsh, and consequently will inevitably continue to wreak her havoc on Crythin Gifford. .
  • Girl in the Tower: Simultaneous use and inversion. The solicitor's daughter is locked in the office basement to protect her from Jennet. It fails horribly.
  • Hammer Horror: ...duh.
  • Haunted House Historian: Everyone in town, but of course none of them are talky.
  • The Hero Dies
  • Hey, It's That Guy!:
  • Hollywood Fire: Used when the solicitor's office burns up. Kipps charges in to save their daughter, and comes out with little more than soot on his face and burnt hands.
  • Hope Spot: Arthur manages to reunite Jennet with the body of her son, which seems to put her to rest, and thus saves the life of his son, right? Nope, the Lady still can't forgive what was done to her, so she appears to Arthur's son, which leads to both his and Arthur's deaths.
  • Implacable Man
  • Infant Immortality: Averted thoroughly within the first three minutes, and throughout the movie.
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: Never brought up in the movie, but the trailer has a brutally chilling one:

 During afternoon tea, there's a shift in the air,

A bone trembling chill that tells you she's there,

There are those who believe the whole town is cursed,

But the house in the marsh is by far the worst,

What she wants is unknown, but she always comes back,

The specter of darkness, The woman in black.

  • Jump Scare: More than a few.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: The plot hole of the book is neatly covered here: Whereas in the book, Kipps is notified before leaving that the widow had stacks of documents that would take him days to sort through, the movie has his contact in the village hand him a small envelope of papers and insist that this is everything. He's lying, of course; by the end of the first day, Kipps has a large and unsorted pile of papers on the table in the house, and he continues to discover more as he proceeds in his investigation.
  • Madness Mantra: "never forgive...never forgive...never forgive!"
  • Monkey Morality Pose: At least one set of the monkey toys was in the See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil pose.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: To see the woman in black is to cause her to kill one of the local children. Two surefire ways to make her appear are to go to the house in the marsh and to rifle through her things. So, of course, when our hero comes to visit...
  • Nightmare Face: The titular Woman In Black. For most of the film she is typically seen either from a distance, or out of the camera's focus. But at the climax we get a good look at her... have fun sleeping tonight.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Used a lot, and to great effect.
  • Old Dark House: Also a Haunted House.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: When children start dying after Arthur arrives in town, the townsfolk blame him because of his connection with the manor, and at one point surround Daily's car as he's ready to drive out of town. Daily defuses the situation...before nearly running them over.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: The town's children, whenever the titular Woman in Black is seen.
  • Psychic Powers: Mrs. Daily has a connection with the soul of her son, who was taken by the Woman in Black.
  • Quieter Than Silence: Often.
  • Raised by Humans: Daily's dogs.
  • Real After All: Sam Daily touts that Spiritualism is a hoax even though the Woman in Black had taken his son as well, and his son's soul regularly takes possession of his wife.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Nathaniel's room, where the wallpaper hides missives from his mother either in red paint or actual blood.
  • Self-Immolation: The solicitor's daughter drops a lantern at her feet and goes up in flames.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Everything that the main character does in this movie, including his attempts to set things right with Jennet and her dead son, is rendered pointless at the end when he and his son are simply murdered by Jennet's ghost. At the very least, though, he and his son are reunited with his wife.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several scenes, to Harry Potter:
      • The afterlife scene being in a train station.
      • At the beginning when Arthur falls asleep on the train, he is leaning against the window looking at his reflection... how many times have we seen that shot in the Harry Potter films?
      • This sort of seemed like a shout out to Harry Potter's epilogue- in the very beginning of the movie, Daniel Radcliffe is leaning down and reassuring his son and easing his worries. It was startingly similar to an adult Harry Potter comforting Albus Severus.
      • The movie ends with a parent dying to save his son, much like the events that triggered the Harry Potter story.
    • The upstairs landing of Eelmarsh House has the same pattern on the floor as the hotel carpet in The Shining.
      • The (identical) girls who are killed by the Woman in Black at the beginning, with their toys, evoke The Shining also.
        • There is a scene where Arthur sees the Woman from the opposite end of a corridor, and you just can't quite see her face. It actually quite evokes the corresponding scene in The Shining.
  • Skeptic No Longer: Sam Daily finally acknowledges the supernatural nature of the house and the existence of the ghost in the last act, and helps Kipps lay the ghosts to rest. Well, he tries.
  • Together in Death: The whole Kipps family.
  • Town with a Dark Secret
  • Unfinished Business: Jennet watched her son die, his body never recovered but left in the bog where it was with a simple cross to mark its place. Our hero concludes that reuniting the two may well lay her to rest. It doesn't work.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Arthur. Maybe if we reunite the ghost with her son she'll stop killing people! Nope.
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