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Unlike ghosts, which aren’t even real, ill-conceived horror movie sequels will sometimes go away all on their own, without any outside interference like an exorcist or a demonologist coming out to take care of it. Often, all it takes is just enough people paying absolutely no attention to it. Unfortunately, James Watkins’ merely so-so ghost tale The Woman in Black hasn’t even had enough time to be forgotten yet, much less the previously announced sequel, to be directed by Tom Harper.
But there’s no point in wallowing over misguided cinema, as Hammer Films’ The Woman in Black: Angel of Death has had its first bit of casting. According to a press release, War Horse’s Jeremy Irvine and British actress Phoebe Fox have signed on for the film. Fox is mostly known for her role in the witchy British mystery series Switch, but Irvine is having a busy year. He was recently in Mike Newell’s Great Expectations, and has wrapped filming with Robert Duvall for Emilio Aragón’s A Night in Old Mexico, as well as Jonathan Teplitzky’s WWII drama The Railway Man with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.
The first film grossed over $130 million worldwide and was Britain’s highest grossing film in decades, based mostly on Daniel Radcliffe’s name. As a result it’s kind of strange that the sequel – which is the obvious cash grab – didn’t go with somewhat more recognizable names.
The script, written by Jon Croker, is based on an original story by Susan Hill, who wrote the source novel. It takes place over 40 years after the first, when Eel Marsh House has been seized by the government during WWII. A group of evacuated children arrive, and all the ghostly things you’d expect begin to happen.
Though I’m not trying to drone on in negativity, I have two more things to add. I absolutely hate that the press release calls this film “the next installment in the series of the worldwide box office hit The Woman in Black.” Why is it a series all of a sudden? As well, the first film at least had an established novel to go from, while this is based on a story. Granted it’s by the original author, and they don’t say how long the story actually is, but it still reeks of not being backed by enough thought.