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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Woman in Black [Blu-ray]


(James Watkins, 2012)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions

Video: CBS Film



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:35:19.714

Disc Size: 24,103,971,818 bytes

Feature Size: 19,333,054,464 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.12 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 22nd, 2012



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2144 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2144 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), English, Spanish, none



• Commentary with director James Watkins and screenwriter Jane Goldman

Inside the Perfect Thriller: The Making of The Woman in Black (9.31 - HD!)

• No Fear: Daniel Radcliffe on Arthur Kipps (4:04 - HD)






Description: A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.


Daniel Radcliffe stars as a lawyer settling the finalities of a deceased client's estate when he begins to suspect a... mysterious ghost is haunting the premises. Eden Lake's James Watkins directs from a script by Jane Goldman, who adapts from Susan Hill's novel.


Based on the classic ghost story, The Woman In Black tells the tale of Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a lawyer who is forced to leave his young son and travel to a remote village to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House.
Working alone in the old mansion, Kipps begins to uncover the town's tragic and tortured secrets and his fears escalate when he discovers that local children have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances. When those closest to him become threatened by the vengeful woman in black, Kipps must find a way to break the cycle of terror.



The Film:

And besides, a good story can survive many tellings. The Woman In Black began as a novel by Susan Hill, was adapted into a stage play and then became a television film. I've not read the novel, but the TV version gave me nightmares, and I always make sure to catch the stage play, in which the story is inventively reworked for just two actors (and perhaps the odd spectral presence).

Excerpt from Martin Gray at Eye for Film located HERE

A creaking, shrieking haunted-house amusement and a solid addition to the recently resurrected Hammer Films — the company where Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing once reigned — “The Woman in Black” makes the most of its old-fashioned virtues. Duded out in a period frock coat and pocket-watch chain for his first post-Potter film role, Daniel Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps, a British lawyer who, years after his wife, Stella (Sophie Stuckey), died in childbirth, has the haunted eyes of the eternal mourner. It’s no wonder too, given that Stella, a beauty in luminous white, periodically hovers around him, either because she’s a ghost or a figment of his enduring longing and grief.

Excerpt from Manohla Dargis at the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The Woman in Black is treated to a solid transfer on Blu-ray from CBS.  The image quality supports the film's visual style - the creeping darkness and adept period art direction.  Detail - when called upon - is crisp. This is only single-layered but does the job with a modest bitrate. Colors reflect accuracy - skin tones seem true and contrast exhibits healthy black levels. There is no noise although there are many dark sequences in the film. This Blu-ray has a consistency and showcases some depth.  I suspect this is an accurate representation of the film's appearance. Effects seem realistic and the, often, foggy aura is maintained well by the visuals without appearing too staged.
















Audio :

Equal to the adept video is a DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at 2144 kbps. Effects are reasonably crisp and separation can be sharp and punchy. Marco Beltrami has composed an atmospheric score looming about the Home Theater space - his impressive work includes 2011's The Thing, In the Electric Mist and The Hurt Locker. The lossless track does well in supporting the film presentation. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A' although it will be sold in region 'B' as well with, presumably, a similar transfer.


Extras :

Supplements include a commentary with director James Watkins and screenwriter Jane Goldman discussing production details and the adaptation of the story to the screen. There is a 10-minute Making of... - boastingly entitled Inside the Perfect Thriller with behind the scenes footage and sound bytes plus a 4-minute interview with Daniel Radcliffe on his character Arthur Kipps.



I thought some critics were a little harsh on The Woman in Black. I enjoyed it although it may seem ineffectual, or maybe over-produced, in certain areas. This would be my same complaint of what Harry Potter films I've seen.  No doubt though - there is some entertainment here and the Blu-ray, while not excelling in any one area, does its job with solid a/v and an interesting commentary. The Woman in Black won't be cinematically memorable but is superior to a lot of fluff we are exposed to nowadays at the theater - and, of course, wonderful to see the return of Hammer Films! 

Gary Tooze

May 16th, 2012

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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