By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community. – Oscar Wilde

The Woman in Black Scene Analysis

In this essay I will be critically evaluating a scene from the film ‘The Woman in Black’. In this scene, Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) has discovered the ghost of a deceased child has made it into the house and into a room up the stairs of the deserted household. Following the muddy footsteps up the staircase the scene unfolds.

The Woman in Black is placed in the ‘horror’ genre, as it has many generic conventions associated with the genre. In my opinion this film has met my expectations I had when I began to watch it. It has all the conventions in it of the typical horror. Conveniently placed lighting, eerie soundtracks when entering a particularly scary scene, and also, doing what every horror film should do…to invoke the watchers worst fears.

In my opinion, this film has evolved, because originally, ‘The Woman in Black’ was a West End stage production, and has only recently been created as a film.

The conventions of genre

 Stories: in the scene I’m evaluating he’s following the muddy footsteps of the dead child up to the room where the tune is coming from. Trying to discover what is going on in the house.

Characters: the main character (Daniel Radcliffe), the woman in black & her son, which are depicted as ghosts.

Actors associated with genre: Daniel Radcliffe isn’t associated with the horror genre; he is associated with the fantasy genre because of the role he played in Harry Potter.

Facial expressions: as the scene unfolds, it is clear something bad(scary) is going to happen. As Arthur makes his way up the stairs his face is grim, dark and fearful. Also unknowing because he has no idea what’s in-store for him up the stairs.

Dress: the film is based in the Edwardian era (1901-1910); therefore the dress-code in the film is quite formal, waistcoats, ties, and long dresses for the women in the film.

Objects: a candle, the only source of light in the scene, an old-fashioned children’s toy…it plays a tune which draws Arthur to the room, the rocking chair, from which the scene shows Jennette Humphrey hanging herself, and matches, to provide the extra source of light when the candle is blown out.

There is a certain expectation with Daniel Radcliffe because he played a major part in one of the biggest fantasy film series ever. So the expectation is there as to whether he can play a character in a different genre. I think he plays the part very well, he has tried do move away from his stereo-type and tried something new, which I think has worked well for him. Although, to me, he will always be Harry Potter and I can’t concentrate on the film properly because I expect him to come out with a wand and shout the ‘patronas charm’.

Todorov’s theory

The scene I am evaluating begins in title 37, chapter 8, 0:57:57 onwards.

This scene describes the genre very well; it has several generic conventions within it. The lighting, sound and facial expressions depict it very well.

Sound: in this particular scene, the sounds in it add suspension and tension. It starts off by making the listener/watcher aware that there is a storm outside, however the sound of the storm is over-shadowed by the beginning of a sort of symphony of music as he makes his way up the stairs. The storm is still heard in the background behind the ‘symphony’, however once he has made it up the stairs and is nearing the door the music changes and becomes more intense and sceptical as to how the scene is going to unfold.


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