Film: "The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death"; Cast: Jeremy Irvine, Helen McCrory, Phoebe Fox and Amelia Pidgeon; Director: Tom Harper; Rating: **
We've had enough haunted house stories! And seriously, filmmakers are running out of ideas to scare audiences. "The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death" makes a valiant effort of actually telling a ghost story, but it uses the old tricks in the book to scare viewers.
There's an emotionally scarred child latching on to a doll, chairs rocking in the middle of the night and loud knocks on the door. These don't make our pulse race, heart pound or send shivers up our spines, at least not anymore. Although the film has an interesting premise, it's not as involving or spookily atmospheric as the original.
Set during World War II, the film starts with a group of school children being evacuated from London to a safer place. The group is sent to stay at a remote, abandoned house in the hinterlands, where an evil spirit is lurking on the premises. Jennet Humfrye, who killed herself after watching her young son Nathaniel drown in the last part, sticks around the property, seeking vengeance.
What's interesting to an extent is to see how children will prepare themselves and grim up during the times of horror. It could've been an interesting story about terrified children torn from their families and shoved into what turns out to be greater danger. But this aspect is short-lived as the story treads the same haunted grounds we're all familiar with.
You'd be surprised to be guessing some the horror antics even before they unfold for how predictable these stories have become. Even the film's impressive production designs are let down by the plethora of horror cliches.
The first part, "The Woman in Black", starring a familiar cast of Daniel Radcliffe, was set in the Victorian era. It became the biggest horror hit of the decade because of its wonderful period setting. The sequel fails largely due to the monotonous path it takes to scare the viewers, who are not even hooked on to the story at the first place.
The jet black cinematography in "The Woman in Black 2" does serve some chills, but the film scores very low the overall scare meter. The melancholic atmosphere and unremitting fear of the first film is completely missing.