Susan Hill - The Woman in Black
- Brian Donaldson
- 16 September 2011
This article is from 2011.
Sinister ghost story with an already-established pedigree
As the longest running stage production in Britain after Aggie’s Mousetrap, Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black clearly has an icy grip on the theatre-going public. And with news that this classic ghost story will make it onto the big screen in 2012 with Daniel Radcliffe in the role of the thoroughly haunted young lawyer Arthur Kipps, a new generation will be exposed to Hill’s spooky vision.
Sent to a small English market town in order to deal with the affairs of a recently deceased elderly widow, Kipps ignores the subtle warnings from everyone he encounters and takes shelter for a few days in the dead woman’s house. There, Kipps is on the end of a right old haunting led by the eponymous female, as well as a spectral pony and trap and the distant cries of a child.
A beautifully structured and atmospherically-driven tale which evokes the Henry James and MR James school of subtle psychological freak-outs in starchy period garb, The Woman in Black retains a visceral power, aided by a truly nasty finale.