Film Review: The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

Welcome to 2015!  One of my resolutions is to stop procrastinating, even if it means inevitable disappointment.  That makes it fitting that my first film of the year be within my favorite genre: horror.

Yes, The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death got to be the first victim of a new year.  Or did I get to be its first victim?

It’s 1941 and London is enduring the Blitz.  A small group of children, along with an assistant and the headmistress evacuate to a small, out-of-the-way island called Eel Marsh House.  When they get there they discover that not only is the place almost entirely dilapidated, but that the rest of the children are not set to arrive for another week.  The assistant Eve (Phoebe Fox) does not like the feel of the place, but headmistress Jean (Helen McCrory) only cares about educating the children and keeping them safe.

It turns out Eve is right.  Not only is something wrong with the house, it seems to be centered on one particular child.  Just before the children were set to leave for eel Marsh House they suffered through another bombing and it killed both parents of young Edward (Oaklee Pendergast).  Edward is obviously very troubled and now refuses to speak.  Despite a few strange happenings the first night the only person who even remotely believes Eve is Harry (Jeremy Irvine), a British Army pilot.

Then children start to die.

Sounds pretty good, right?  Now for the disappointing stuff.  First, the worst sin a horror film can be is predictable.  Every step, every scare, and every plot point can be seen a mile away.  Speaking of scares, there are about eight of them and all but one or two are of the jump-scare variety.

The plot feels like it was almost entirely stolen from other, better films like The Conjuring and *ahem* the first Woman in Black movie.  Yes, this is a rehash.  Strangely enough it feels like they went the opposite direction of most sequels.  Whereas the first had an entire town this one keeps to a very small group of people.  They may have been trying to create an even more tense atmosphere but instead the film fell flat.  Oh yeah, and the acting is not really worth speaking of.

Oh yeah, and spoiler warning(?) all the good stuff is in the trailers.

Welcome to 2015!  There’s nowhere to go but up!

(Author’s note: Another New Year’s resolution is to make more sense with my ratings.  3 or less means it’s not worth watching.  >3 to 5 is something that will probably only be enjoyed ironically or by superfans. >5 to 7 is worth at least a rental,  >7 to 9 is great and anything over 9 is a must-see, must-buy and anybody respectable would have already seen it before reading my review.)