Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Woman in Black: "I Didn't Know You Were Funny"

Every once in awhile, I go bananas, lose all sense of reality, and experience a Class A, Level 1, Chernobyl-Type Meltdown.  While the initial explosion is impressive, the fallout afterward also deserves some recognition.  Similar to Haley Joel Osment's character Cole from The Sixth Sense, I become pale, twitchy, frightened, and yell: "You're a stuttering Stanley" at anyone who annoys me.  In these morbid and creepifying moments, I often seek out my friend Maggie whose known me long enough to understand the protocol: Keep Calm and Carry On...and Distract Me.  As a means of distraction this past weekend, she benevolently agreed to see The Woman in Black with me starring Daniel Radcliffe and the dog who out acted him.  The movie's plot centers around a Bitchy and Irrational Female Ghost who offs children for the hell of it.  Unfortunately for director James Watkins, the only scary part of this Gothic horror is the acting, or lack thereof, namely Radcliffe's.  But despite this flaw, Watkins' Ridiculous Drama does have one redeeming quality.  It'll make you laugh.  Like traumatized little Cole, you'll sigh and say: "I didn't know you were funny."  Below are Five Reasons Why The Woman is Black is Awesomely Bad and Kinda Hilarious.

Maybe Radcliffe should try harder drugs
1.) Daniel Radcliffe's Face: Last July, this Harry Potter star revealed he spent much of his Wizarding days drunk off his ass.  Thus, Mr. Radcliffe often suffered from hangovers while portraying Hogwarts Favorite Golden Boy.  This fact lead me to wonder: Will Daniel's acting improve now that he's sober?  Answer: Nope.  Watkins' Woman in Black is most notable for Radcliffe's frozen face: unsmiling and emotionless throughout.  No wonder Gary Oldman slapped Radcliffe around back in 2007 in order to elicit some expression from this Soulless Automaton.    While Watkins seemed to understand Mr. Frozen Face cannot handle speaking (Radcliffe, the main character, has very few lines), he unfortunately used up most of his shots on Daniel rather than the Ghost, the Haunted House, or even the Shrubbery which still might have been an improvement.  By about forty minutes in, I found myself laughing hysterically every time I looked at Old Harry.  In fact, at one point, The Boy Who Lived shares camera time with a dog.  To the audiences horror, even the growling pup produces more emotion than Mr. Radcliffe.  Its a mystery.  How could both Radcliffe and Watkins never notice this unchanging and awkward expression?  Perhaps someone should have called Oldman on set to bitch slap Harry one more time.

Who buys a child this fucked up doll?
2.) Masturbating Windup Toys:  The Woman in Black is the only movie I've ever seen in which a child's room is filled with Self Pleasuring Dolls, most notably a Monkey Shaking His Bongos and a Wild Eyed, Red Nosed Clown Sticking out his Tongue and Rocking Back and Forth. (See Picture on the Left) Again what were they thinking?: "Sex Crazed Toys are Terrifying!" Nope, they are not James Watkins.  But they are the point of scarring.

3.) Ideas For Tormenting Your Dinner Guests: The only scene I truly enjoyed during the movie centered around the characters of Sam and Mrs. Daily, played by Ciaran Hinds and Janet McTeer (both fine actors who are overshadowed by the Automaton).  The Dailys lost their little son, Nicholas, to the Spiteful Bitch-tastic Ghost years prior.  Since that time, Mrs. Daily has gone round the twist, referring to her dogs as "the twins", spoon feeding them at the dinner table, and rocking them to sleep each night (If you think this behavior is normal I suggest you see a psychiatrist immediately).  As the Dailys, their Dogs, and Harry Potter sit down to dinner, Mrs Daily looks at Radcliffe and exclaims:

"Nicholas wants to draw you picture!"  Then Janet McTeer picks up her knife and begins carving a hangman's noose on the dinner table.  Personally, I believe, in the right circumstances, this behavior would be great fun.  The next time I'm forced to go somewhere unpleasant I plan to fake a trance and carve up my host's furniture.

These little darlings jump out the window in the opening scene
4.) Moronic Baby-Making Townspeople: It is clear from the outset of the movie that all the townspeople understand that there is a Serial Killing Phantom slaughtering their children.  In fact, the villagers are so terrified, they attempt to keep Radcliffe, Arthur Kipps, from visiting the ghost's former estate.  My question: Why don't these people either A.) Move away? or B.) Stop Having Children?  Its baffling.  I want to feel empathy for the bereaved, but it seems to me that their continued pain is a matter of choice.  Stop producing Rug Rats to feed to the Creepy Ghost.  Done!

"Its scary because I can't move my face."
5.) Three  Strange Morals:
a.) Suicide Is Good: When the narrative begins, Radcliffe's character, Arthur Kipps, has been mourning the death of his wife, whom he lost in childbirth, for four years.  Kipps is, apparently, so depressed that his little son draws pictures of him frowning (yes this Tiny Child out acts Harry Potter as well).  Rather than perking up and trying to parent his motherless son, in the end, the unhappy Kipps dies along with his child.  Then the now Happy Duo merrily trot off to join his late wife, the Woman in White (how original)  Everything is perfect again.  What kind of fucked up moral is that?

b.) Ghost Sex and No Consequences: At the end of the movie, Radcliffe's late wife is greeted by her husband and dead four year old.  Why are they dead, you ask?  Because Radcliffe refused to hold the kid's hand while standing alongside train tracks.  That's nothing less than child neglect. Yet, his wife is thrilled to see them.  Why isn't she pissed?  She perishes while giving birth and he spends the next four years moping around, ignoring their son, and finally allowing the youngster to get ran over by a train.  The look on her face says: "We're gonna have the best ghost sex ever."  I'd think she'd be saying: "You're in for a long dry spell buddy!  What the fuck?  You can't be bothered to hold onto his hand? That's too much to ask?"

c.) Once a Sadistic Bitch Always a Sadistic Bitch: The final problem with the Woman in Black is that the Ghost is  not a sympathetic character.  Yes, her son was taken away from her and then the child died, but her family, not the townspeople, caused this tragic situation.  We've no idea why this Sadistic Woman eats children other than she just seems to get off on it and the villagers are too stupid to move away.  From her Afterlife Behavior, I can only assume her family made the right decision in removing the child from her care no matter the outcome.

Conclusion: Go watch The Woman in Black if for no other reason than seeing is believing.  No words can describe something that Amazingly Stupid. Oh, Daniel Radcliffe, we didn't know you were funny.

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