The Woman in Black (2012 film)

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This article is about the 2012 film. For the 1989 film, see The Woman in Black (1989 film).
The Woman in Black
Woman in black ver4.jpg
British theatrical release poster
Directed by James Watkins
Produced by Richard Jackson
Simon Oakes
Brian Oliver
Screenplay by Jane Goldman
Based on The Woman in Black 
by Susan Hill
Starring Daniel Radcliffe
Ciarán Hinds
Janet McTeer
Liz White
Music by Marco Beltrami
Cinematography Tim Maurice-Jones
Edited by Jon Harris
Distributed by Momentum Pictures (United Kingdom)
Alliance Films (Canada)
CBS Films (United States)
Release dates
  • 3 February 2012 (2012-02-03) (North American territories)
  • 10 February 2012 (2012-02-10) (United Kingdom)
Running time
95 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $15 million[4]
Box office $128.5 million[5][6]

The Woman in Black is a 2012 British supernatural horror film directed by James Watkins and written by Jane Goldman. It's the second adaptation of Susan Hill's 1983 novel of the same name, which was previously filmed in 1989. Produced by Hammer Film Productions, the film stars Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer, Sophie Stuckey, and Liz White.

The film was released in the United States and Canada on 3 February 2012 to generally positive reviews, and was released in the United Kingdom on 10 February 2012.[7]

A sequel entitled Angel of Death was released on 2 January 2015, without the involvement of Radcliffe.


The film opens in an Edwardian era English village, Crythin Gifford, with three young girls make-believing a tea party with their dolls. They look up suddenly at something off-screen and, as though mesmerized, commit suicide by jumping from their bedroom window en masse.

Some years later, in London, widowed lawyer and father Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is instructed to visit Crythin Gifford to orchestrate the sale of Eel Marsh House, an estate on the neighboring marshland, and retrieve any relevant documents left by its deceased owner Alice Drablow with the understanding that failure to do so will result in the termination of his employment. Upon his arrival, Arthur finds that many of the villagers rather curt and unwelcoming, though he finds sympathy in a wealthy local landowner Samuel Daily (Ciarán Hinds); and Mrs. Fischer, a tavern-keeper who still grieves the loss of her daughters. The latter persuades her husband to let him stay at their inn for their night, though she encourages him to leave the village at his earliest opportunity.

The next morning, Arthur goes to meet his legal contact, Mr. Jerome, who tries to hurry him away with the assurance that Arthur's firm has already received all the relative paperwork. Arthur, undeterred, hires a local driver to take him to Eel Marsh.

During his initial visit to Eel Marsh House, Arthur is distracted by odd noises and a bolted nursery, and subsequently, the appearance of a spectral entity in funerary garb. He hears sounds on the marshes of a carriage in distress and a screaming child, but sees nobody on the causeway. Upon his return to the village, Arthur attempts to alert the village constable, who regards him dismissively. Though he remains adamant about what he saw, the constable assures him that no one has used the causeway in years and retreats to his study. Before he can react further, two children enter the station with their sister Victoria, who has just ingested lye. Despite his pleas for assistance, the girl begins vomiting blood and pitches into Arthur's arms. The scene cuts to outside the police station with Arthur looking on as Victoria's inconsolable family collect her body. The nearby villagers, Jerome and his wife included, eye Arthur with loathing. Back at the tavern, Mrs. Fisher reiterates her warning to Arthur, urging him to leave the village and never return.

That night, Sam reveals that he and his wife Elisabeth (Janet McTeer) lost their young son to drowning. Elisabeth suffers from fits of hysteria, which she attributes to her boy speaking through her. She succumbs to an episode during dinner and carves a picture of a hanging figure onto the table before Sam sedates her. When Sam attempts to drive Arthur to Eel Marsh the next day, a fleet of local men attempt to drive him off. Victoria's father blames him for his daughter's death, claiming that Arthur saw "that woman" at Eel Marsh.

At the house, Arthur uncovers correspondence between Alice and her sister Jennet Humfrye (Liz White). In her letters, Jennet denies Alice's verdict that she is "mentally unfit" and demands to see her son Nathaniel, whom the Drablows formally adopted and barred her from contacting. A photo of the Drablows is defaced while Arthur averts his eyes. A death certificate reveals that Nathaniel drowned in a carriage accident on the marsh. Jennet blames Alice for saving only herself and for leaving Nathaniel's body in the marsh without a proper burial. Jennet hangs herself in the nursery, vowing never to forgive Alice. Arthur also sees visions of dead children in the marshes, with the Fishers' daughters and Victoria Hardy among their number.

A clamor upstairs lures Arthur to the nursery, which he finds is no longer locked. Inside, he sees an empty rocking chair and has a vision of the Woman in Black hanging from a roof beam. Panicked, he flees the estate to find Sam outside, having come to collect him. In town, Jerome's house has seemingly caught fire with his daughter (who'd been barricaded in the basement at the time) still inside. When Arthur attempts to save her, he sees the Woman in Black goading the girl into immolating herself with a flood lantern. After witnessing her suicide, Arthur flees the building as it collapses. Upon his return, he sees the entire village looking on the scene. As they did with Victoria Hardy, the townspeople blame Arthur for the death and solidify their resentment of him.

At her son's grave, Elisabeth tells Arthur that the Woman in Black is Jennet, who claims the souls of the village children by having them take their own lives in penance for her own son being taken. Through another episode of delirium, she informs him that his son Joseph, who is coming to Crythin Gifford the next day with his nanny, is Jennet's next intended victim. In an effort to lift the curse, Arthur and Sam find Nathaniel's body still in the carriage on the marsh, and places it in his nursery. Arthur lures Jennet to the body and she takes the boy, whose spirit rebukes her and denies that she is his mother. Arthur and Sam bury Nathaniel with Jennet, though her disembodied voice echoes through the house that she will never forgive the wrongs she has suffered.

Assuming Jennet pacified, the next night Arthur joins with his son Joseph at the railway station. While bidding farewell to Sam and waiting for the train to London, Arthur sees the Woman in Black lure Joseph onto the tracks towards an oncoming train. Though Arthur attempts to save him, the both of them are crushed by the oncoming train while a horrified Sam sees the earthbound spirits of the village children. Jennet's visage screams at him before she and her company disappear.

After the train passes, Arthur opens his eyes to darkness in the now-deserted station. Joseph spots a woman on the tracks nearby whom he doesn't recognize, and Arthur identifies her as his late wife. The family, reunited, vanishes into the surrounding fog with Jennet watching from afar.


  • Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps, a young lawyer
  • Ciarán Hinds as Sam Daily, a local landowner
  • Janet McTeer as Elisabeth Daily, Daily's wife
  • Liz White as Jennet Humfrye, the Woman in Black
  • Roger Allam as Mr. Bentley, senior partner of Arthur's firm
  • Tim McMullan as Jerome, the local solicitor
  • Jessica Raine as Joseph's Nanny
  • Daniel Cerqueira as Keckwick, the carriage driver
  • Shaun Dooley as Fisher, village innkeeper
  • Mary Stockley as Mrs Fisher
  • David Burke as PC Collins, village constable
  • Sophie Stuckey as Stella Kipps, Arthur's wife
  • Misha Handley as Joseph Kipps, Arthur's son
  • Aoife Doherty as Lucy Jerome, Jerome's daughter
  • Victor McGuire as Gerald Hardy, a villager
  • Alexia Osborne as Victoria Hardy, Hardy's daughter
  • Alisa Khazanova as Alice Drablow
  • Ashley Foster as Nathaniel Drablow, the Woman in Black's son
  • Sidney Johnston as Nicholas Daily, Daily's son
  • Molly Harmon, Emma Shorey and Ellisa Walker-Reid as the Fisher daughters

Liz White's character is never referred to as "The Woman in Black" inside the film or during the credits, where she is listed as "Jennet."



The film was announced in 2009,[8] with Jane Goldman as screenwriter[8] and later James Watkins as director.[9] Daniel Radcliffe was announced as the actor playing the part of Arthur Kipps on 19 July 2010.[10] Two months later, it was announced that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 co-star Ciarán Hinds would join Radcliffe along with Janet McTeer as Mr and Mrs Daily respectively.[11] Before filming, Radcliffe saw a psychologist so he could better understand his character.[12] The part of Joseph Kipps was played by Misha Handley, who is Radcliffe's real life godson.[13]


The film was planned to be shot in 3D,[8] but the idea was later scrapped.[14] Principal photography officially started on 26 September 2010.[15] The next day, Radcliffe was pictured in costume just outside Peterborough, England.[16] In early October the crew was filming in Layer Marney Tower.[17] Filming officially ended on 4 December 2010.[18]

The exterior shots of Eel Marsh House were filmed at Cotterstock Hall near Oundle in central England. The fictional Nine Lives Causeway leading to it was filmed at Osea Island in Essex. The village of Crythin Gifford was filmed at Halton Gill, north of Settle in the Yorkshire Dales.


At the Kapow! Comic Con in London during April 2011, director James Watkins confirmed filming had been completed in December 2010 and post-production would go on until June 2011.[19] For its British release, several changes were made in order to qualify for a 12A certificate: Momentum Theatrical, the distributor, arranged to have six seconds cut and for changes to other shots, with some scenes darkened and the sound level reduced on some others.[20]

Despite the cuts, the 12A certificate was seen as highly controversial in the United Kingdom, and the British Board of Film Classification received 134 complaints from individuals that the rating was too low, the most complained-about film of 2012 according to BBFC figures. [21] A cinematic re-release in October 2014, including a short clip from the forthcoming sequel The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, was given a higher rating of 15.[22]


The Woman in Black Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Marco Beltrami
Genre Score
Length 55:24
Label Silva Screen Records
Producer Marco Beltrami
Marco Beltrami film soundtrack chronology
The Thing
The Woman in Black
Trouble with the Curve

The soundtrack for the film was composed by American film composer Marco Beltrami. It received positive reviews and was released as a soundtrack album on 12 March 2012 by Silva Screen Records.[23][24]

All music composed by Marco Beltrami.

No. Title Length
1. "Tea for Three Plus One"   1:40
2. "The Woman in Black"   1:56
3. "Crossing the Causeway"   2:24
4. "Bills Past Due"   1:22
5. "Voices in the Mist = Journey North"    
6. Untitled   2:56
7. "Cellar Eye"   2:49
8. "First Death"   2:00
9. "The Attic Room"   1:56
10. "The Door Opens"   1:46
11. "Fireside"   2:30
12. "You Could Have Saved Him"   2:58
13. "Crazy Writing"   2:16
14. "In the Graveyard"   2:56
15. "Elisabeth's Vision"   3:40
16. "Into the Fire"   3:57
17. "Jennet's Letters"   2:12
18. "Race to the Marsh"   2:11
19. "Rising From the Mud"   3:13
20. "Summoning the Woman in Black"   4:27
21. "Reunion"   1:42
22. "Arthur's Theme"   2:46
Total length:


Critical reception[edit]

The Woman in Black was met with generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 66%, based on 174 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10. The site's critical consensus states, "Traditional to a fault, The Woman in Black forwent gore for chills—although it may not provide enough of them for viewers attuned to modern, high-stakes horror."[25] On Metacritic the film has a score of 62 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[26]

Box office[edit]

During opening weekend, The Woman in Black earned $20 million, the biggest US opening for a Hammer film in all of Hammer history,[27] putting it at second place in the box office, behind Chronicle, which earned about $1 million more.[28] This is significantly more than the $11–$16.5 million industry analysts predicted it would bring in.[29][30] As of June 2012, The Woman in Black has made $127,730,736 worldwide.[6] The film also became the highest-grossing British horror film in 20 years.[31]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on 18 June 2012 in the United Kingdom,[32] and was released in the United States on 22 May 2012.[33]


In April 2012, Hammer Films announced that there would be a sequel to The Woman in Black, which is titled The Woman in Black: Angel of Death. The official plot synopsis is: "Seized by the government and converted into a military mental hospital during World War II, the sudden arrival of disturbed soldiers to Eel Marsh House has awoken its darkest inhabitant. Eve, a beautiful young nurse, is sent to the house to care for the patients but soon realises she must save them from more than their own demons. Despite Eve’s efforts to stop her, one by one they fall victim to the Woman in Black."[34]

The original novel's author Susan Hill helped with the story, with the screenplay written by Jon Croker.[31][35][36] In October 2012, Tom Harper was announced as the film's director.[37] In April 2013, it was announced that Jeremy Irvine will play the lead role with rumors of Daniel Radcliffe briefly reprising his role from the first film,[38] however Radcliffe ultimately did not appear in the sequel. It has also been announced that Phoebe Fox and Helen McCrory have been cast in the film as well. The film began the shooting process in early 2014.[39]

The film was released on 2 January 2015 to moderate box office returns but a generally negative critical response.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Woman in Black (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Felperin, Leslie (25 January 2012). "Film Front Reviews". Variety. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Dawtrey, Adam (2 March 2012). "Hammer nails coin from next gen". Variety. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b "The Woman in Black". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Release
  8. ^ a b c "3D Version of the Woman in Black Coming from Hammer". 4 November 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "Hammer Options Rights to Famous Horror Novel "The Woman in Black"". 1 February 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 
  10. ^ "Daniel Radcliffe to star in The Woman in Black". BBC News. 19 July 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  11. ^ Martyn Conterio (8 September 2010). "Two More Actors Set To Join 'The Woman in Black'". Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  12. ^ Kristy Kelly (20 September 2010). "Daniel Radcliffe 'prepares for Black role'". Daily Spy. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  13. ^ "Chris Evan's Breakfast Show". 10 February 2012. BBC Radio 2.  Missing or empty |series= (help)
  14. ^ Russ Fischer (27 September 2010). "First Look: Daniel Radcliffe in 'Woman in Black'". /Film. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  15. ^ "Hammer's official Twitter account". Twitter. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010. via @RoomofRadcliffe @hammerfilms Have heard that The Woman in Black starts filming on Sept.26! Can't wait to see this!! 
  16. ^ "Daniel Radcliffe pictured in The Woman in Black". Telegraph. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  17. ^ "Layer Marney News: The Woman in Black". Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  18. ^ "Hammer's official Twitter account". Twitter. 4 December 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2011. On this day in 2010, production wraps on THE WOMAN IN BLACK. 
  19. ^ "Kapow! Adrian reports in on Hammer's The Woman In Black and more genre goodies!". 10 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-10. 
  20. ^ "The Woman in Black". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 2012-02-11. In addition to the 6 seconds of visual cuts, substitutions were also made by darkening some shots and by reducing the sound levels on others. 
  21. ^ "'Woman in Black', 'Men in Black 3' top BBFC ratings complaints list in 2012". DigitalSpy. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 2014-11-01. 
  22. ^ "THE WOMAN IN BLACK PLUS ANGEL OF DEATH FIRST LOOK". BBFC. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-01. 
  23. ^ Southall, James (6 April 2012). "The Woman in Black". Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  24. ^ Paton, Atila (13 March 2012). "The Woman in Black". SoundTrack.Net. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  25. ^ "The Woman in Black (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  26. ^ "The Woman in Black". Metacritic. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  27. ^ Barry, Vic (6 February 2012). "The Woman In Black has highest ever opening for Hammer". The Movie Bit. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  28. ^ Smith, Grady (6 February 2012). "Box office report: 'Chronicle' earns a super powerful $22 million on Super Bowl weekend". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  29. ^ Subers, Ray (2 February 2012). "Forecast: 'Chronicle' To Crush Super Bowl Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  30. ^ "Weekend Predictions: 'Chronicle,' 'The Woman in Black' and 'Big Miracle'". 1 February 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  31. ^ a b "'The Woman in Black' Sequel Moving Forward". Fused Film. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  32. ^ "The Woman in Black [DVD]". Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  33. ^ "The Woman in Black (+ UltraViolet Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] (2012)". Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  34. ^ Schwartz, Terri (13 June 2012). "'Woman In Black' Sequel Story Details Revealed". MTV. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  35. ^ Newman, Nick (2 April 2012). "'The Woman in Black' Gets Sequel Treatment, 'Angels of Death'". The Film Stage. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  36. ^ Miller, Jenni (2 April 2012). "'The Woman in Black' Becomes a Frightening Franchise with 'The Angels of Death'". Next Movie. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  37. ^ Trumbore, Dave (13 October 2012). "Tom Harper Set to Direct The Woman in Black: Angels of Death". Collider. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  38. ^ "Woman in Black sequel casts Jeremy Irvine as lead". BBC News Online. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2013. 
  39. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)

Further reading[edit]

  • Grunert, Andrea. "The Woman in Black". Enzyklopädie des Phantastischen Films. Issue 97, Meitingen: Corian Verlag. March 2012. p. 1–19. ISBN 978-3-89048-497-6.

External links[edit]