The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death – Movie Review
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 02 Jan 2015
The Woman in Black 2 is the first horror sequel from Hammer since 1974. The first film, released in 2012 and starring Daniel Radcliffe was a slow burning ghost story set in the early 1900’s. While The Woman in Black 2 shares the same fantastic and spooky Eel Marsh house located in a bizarre island of marshes and the ghost that haunts it, the movie shares none of the restraint or confidence that it’s audience would let the story speak for itself. While the first one had it’s critics, one criticism it did not have was the modern horror plague of jump scares. Unfortunately the second chapter cannot say the same, with jump scares coming early and often before there’s even much of a mood established.
Taking place during the bombing of London in 1941, the story begins as a group of children are sent to live with a headmistress and a teacher in a country house to get away from the dangerous life in London. They end up staying at the Eel Marsh house, with the nearby town seemingly abandoned and the house itself in a state of serious neglect. Unfortunately they have no other choice than to stay here. We end up having the mixed feelings about the main characters being women and children just trying to survive versus the sole protagonist of the first film and it seems unfair and mean-spirited to tear children away from their families in war-torn England just to send them into a dangerous haunted house.
Phoebe Fox and Helen McCrory play the women, Eve Parkins and Jean Hogg respectively. Eve is the main protagonist, taking care of a newly orphaned boy who is mute from shock named Edward (Oaklee Pendergast.) There’s a strong subplot suggesting that Edward is actually her son, stolen from her at birth because she was too young and unmarried to keep a child. This would have nicely paralleled the story behind the Woman in Black herself, but this confusingly is never explained – just implied.
There’s also a pilot that shows up to help out and be something of a romantic interest for Eve named Harry (Jeremy Irvine) whose shame and secrecy does lead into an interesting direction to utilize a little more of the World War II time period.
While the first installment in the series wasn’t quite a must-see movie, it’s creepy atmosphere and restrained storytelling were great assets and worth checking out for a good ghost story. The second one takes the same location and ghost and makes it into a modern horror with ludicrous amounts of jump scares and story beats that lead nowhere.
Aaron and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: