The Woman in Black: Angel of Death (2015)
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death is set forty years after the events of the first movie and despite the outbreak of World War II, malevolent spirit Jennet Humfrye is still haunting Eel Marsh House. The decaying mansion is now home to a group of evacuee children from London and it's not long before staff become aware of a ghostly presence. A mute child named Edward, who is bullied by the other children, seems to be the focal point of Jennet's supernatural interests. One of the teachers, Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox) is protective towards the boy and subsequently incurs the wrath of the woman in black.
The Woman in Black had the advantage of a central star driving the movie forward, but the producers compensate for the absence of Daniel Radcliffe by setting this sequel in a strong period setting. The cast drawn mainly from UK television is robust and appropriate. Phoebe Fox sustains the story as the plucky heroine and Jeremy Irvine is competent as a RAF pilot and romantic interest. The younger actors are equally convincing, enduring some grim shocks as they’re menace by the vengeful spirit. The production captures the era well and maintains a suitably brooding atmosphere.
Cinematographer George Steel creates a sombre and bleak aesthetic, working within a very dark colour scheme. The fog bound woods and tidal beaches are genuinely chilling and provide a ghoulish setting for the story to unfold. The Woman in Black: Angel of Death is not a gory film, instead relying upon a brooding atmosphere of fear and some well contrived jump scares. The absence of a major box office star meant that the distributors did not indulge in any horse trading over the rating this time round. In the UK the movie has subsequently been rated 15 due to its very dark tone and subject matter.
The Woman in Black: Angel of Death is a solid and professionally crafted movie that acquits itself well in the current sub-genre of “jump scare” based horror movies. It is not quite as good as the first movie, mainly because it doesn't do much more than provide viewers with more of the same. However, what it sets out to do, it does well. The change of setting and inventive sound design enhance the proceeding, making it superior to many of its contemporary set rivals. The movies greatest strength is still its bold subject matter. Infanticide is still a theme that many studios shy away from.