The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

Directed By: Tom Harper

Starring: Phoebe Fox, Jeremy Irvine, Helen McCrory, Adrian Rawlins, Leanne Best, and Ned Dennehy

"Fight bad dreams with good thoughts."
-Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox)

Happy New Year STMR readers!  We've put the doldrums of the 2014 box office behind us.  The movies of 2015 now lie ahead, and we've got plenty of potentially great flicks on the horizon.  This is the year of the reborn franchise.  Just look to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, or Terminator: Genisys.  This is the year of the classic Disney comeback.  Just look to the upcoming live action adaptations of Cinderella and The Jungle Book.  This is the year of Ultron.  Just look to the return of earth's mightiest heroes tangled in strings.  Yes, 2015 is a year for big movies, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on all of them throughout the year.  The first film on deck, however, is the sequel to the 2012 ghost story The Woman in Black, and this flick certainly doesn't earn the distinction of the first great movie of 2015.

Eel Marsh House on the British countryside is a safe haven for Eve Parkins (Fox), Jean Hogg (Helen McCrory), and the children for whom they care.  With the chaos of World War II ravaging London and endangering its citizens, this is absolutely critical for all their sakes.  Harry Burnstow (Jeremy Irvine), a soldier and Eve's romantic interest, helps the group along the way.  Having recently been orphaned, a boy from class named Edward (Oaklee Pendergast) joins the group at Eel Marsh.  Quiet and introverted, it's clear to Eve from the start that there's something this boy is not telling everyone else.  Little does she know that he's seeing a nightmarishly evil ghost known as the Woman in Black.

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death is handicapped from the start.  Director Tom Harper sets this movie up for failure by making several crucial missteps.  A drab setting is not necessarily a spooky one.  Harper's depiction of the British countryside is either covered in fog or the dark of night.  Some grayish cinematography doesn’t add any semblance of terror to this already underwhelming setting.  Moreover, this scenery does not instantly create frights, and Harper fails to build on his visuals with anything else.  He tries but fails to surprise the audience on a few occasions.  Frankly, however, thrills are endangered species in this sequel to The Woman in Black.

Another factor that handicaps the film is that it lacks a heavy-hitting cast.  There's no Daniel Radcliffe or Ciarán Hinds up at bat for this one.  We've got Phoebe Fox delivering a rather underwhelming performance as Eve Parkins.  Simply put, she's one bland leading lady.  Jeremy Irvine of War Horse fame and Helen McCrory don't do much better as Harry Burnstow and Jean Hogg respectively.  To make matters worse, the kids, the victims of the Woman in Black, are totally uninteresting.  All in all, the film offers one disappointing performance after another.

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a few Fallen Angels with this one.  Fight bad dreams with good drinks.