Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Feb 2, 2012
    88
    In rare cases – and The Woman in Black is one of them – a story may be more atmospheric when less is left to the imagination.
  2. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    Feb 6, 2012
    80
    Check behind the doors. Switch on all the lights. You won't be sleeping soundly for a while.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Feb 3, 2012
    80
    "No Country for Young Kids" would be just as suitable a title for The Woman in Black, a hoot of an old-fashioned British horror film.
  4. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Feb 2, 2012
    80
    The mostly dialogue-free middle section is a scare-film master class - and when a becalmed smile does finally cross his lips, it's in the most giddily mordant of circumstances. As Arthur embraces the darkness, so does the darkness embrace us.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Feb 2, 2012
    80
    The Woman in Black is a welcome addition to the old canon; renouncing innovation, embracing anachronism, it's almost "The Artist" of ghost movies. To anyone who fancies throwback stories of the supernatural, there's nothing so appealing as a well-preserved corpse.
  6. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Feb 2, 2012
    80
    If the story is laid out none too subtly, its straightforward purity is, finally, its greatest strength. Screenwriter Jane Goldman has adapted Susan Hill's 1983 novel (which spawned a radio series, TV movie and long-running West End stage play) with economy, placing a premium on eeriness, not gore.
  7. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Feb 2, 2012
    80
    The pleasures of the period ghost story The Woman in Black are something like the creepy shiver of delight you get from Edward Gorey's illustrated poem "The Gashlycrumb Tinies."
  8. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Feb 6, 2012
    75
    The production company is Hammer Films, a venerable name in British horror. Responsible for some of the best monster movies of the '50s and '60s, when Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee were a favorite team, Hammer has endured over the years. Now, as then, the Hammer name is an assurance that terror, not soulless special effects, lies at the heart of the production. The Woman in Black bears this out.
  9. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Feb 2, 2012
    75
    As opposed to modern horror flicks like the "Saw" movies, where gruesome violence can almost blunt fears, The Woman in Black is a tasteful, old-school frightener, emphasizing suspense and foreboding over blood and guts.
  10. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Feb 2, 2012
    75
    The film, a handsome nerve-jangler co-produced under the storied Hammer horror banner, amps up the scares without turning them into something completely stupid. Success!
  11. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Feb 1, 2012
    75
    Not since young Hutter arrived at Orlok's castle in "Nosferatu" has a journey to a dreaded house been more fearsome than the one in The Woman in Black.
  12. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Feb 6, 2012
    70
    There's not a lot that's new about the terrors he faces - the director uses time-honored techniques to keep you on edge, every one of which graced Hammer films of yore. But happily for the picture, there's a reason they're time-honored. And keep you on edge, they definitely do.
  13. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Feb 2, 2012
    70
    If director James Watkins's second film is about as scary as the haunted house your big cousins made in the basement, Radcliffe, as widowed lawyer Arthur Kipps, at least gives a moving portrayal of grief.
  14. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Feb 2, 2012
    70
    If, on the other hand, you're not above acknowledging the trans-historical creepiness of a good dusty windup-doll shelf (Come on! It includes one of those hyper-realistic monkeys playing the cymbals!), this pokey, modestly budgeted thriller isn't without its shivery delights.
  15. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Feb 2, 2012
    70
    Director James Watkins (Eden Lake) treats the material with surprising reverence, generating good clean scares from atmosphere and character revelations rather than shock editing or gore.
  16. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Feb 2, 2012
    70
    Less gore is more here, and what a relief. The Woman in Black isn't especially scary, but it keeps you on edge, and without the usual vivisectionist imagery.
  17. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    Jan 29, 2012
    70
    Helmer James Watkins ("Eden Lake") and scripter Jane Goldman judiciously combine moves from the classic scare-'em-ups with new tricks from recent J-horror pictures to retell Susan Hill's oft-adapted Victorian gothic pastiche.
  18. Reviewed by: Andy Klein
    Feb 3, 2012
    67
    Radcliffe's fidgety performance is convincing, and he does come across as an adult, though a very young one.
  19. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Feb 2, 2012
    67
    An old-fashioned, tastefully constrained supernatural thriller, The Woman In Black embraces the elements of gothic horror movies with pleasing seriousness.
  20. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Feb 3, 2012
    63
    There's little that's new, revealing or stylish about this basic-black horror story, but if you've got a Goth sensibility, it might suit you.
  21. 63
    Though Radcliffe occasionally seems too stiffly callow to be completely convincing in this grown-up role, the movie is a proficient thriller with a potential appeal beyond the star's fan-girl audience.
  22. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Feb 2, 2012
    63
    The Woman in Black doesn't break new ground, but in its suggestions of fine film ghost stories, from "The Innocents" to "The Others" and "The Orphanage," it works you over with riveting restraint.
  23. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Feb 2, 2012
    60
    The landscape is dire, the architecture is haunted, children disappear by the dozens and antique toys inexplicably spark to life. That Mr. Radcliffe doesn't is part of the problem.
  24. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Feb 2, 2012
    60
    Though "Woman" never rises above its status as a traditional genre thriller, that's perfectly fine. It was made with intelligence and commitment, and it achieves its goal: to keep us looking over our shoulders long after we've left.
  25. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Feb 2, 2012
    60
    Subtlety may not be Watkins' strong suit, but he knows how to frame a scene for maximum tension and dread.
  26. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Feb 8, 2012
    50
    Boring and sedentary, not to mention only occasionally coherent, this creaking-door mystery is not much of a vehicle to display young Mr. Radcliffe's range and charm.
  27. 50
    There is one nice pop-up scare against a dozen or so false, ineffectual ones - a poor percentage. As the title states, she is a woman and wears black, but she might as well be a hastily decked-out script girl for all her impact.
  28. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Feb 3, 2012
    50
    Erstwhile boy wizard Daniel Radcliffe works no magic as a grieving lawyer in The Woman in Black, a creaky haunted-house story that's strong on creepy atmosphere but woefully deficient in the scare department.
  29. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Feb 2, 2012
    50
    If, in the end, the movie fails to generate much beyond several crackling jump scares and a nicely gothic mise-en-scene, it has enough mood, and enough Radcliffe, to carry us through the mist.
  30. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Feb 2, 2012
    50
    Director James Watkins knows how to make a body jump out of its skin, even if he does use the face-reflected-in-the-mirror/window trick once too often. At the same time, the film is kind of, well, silly.
  31. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    Feb 2, 2012
    50
    To my thinking, this splendid low-key bummer of a ghost story was eventually undermined by the film's increasing reliance on shock-scares, in which something suddenly and noisily jumps into the frame, over and over and over.
  32. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Feb 2, 2012
    50
    Janet McTeer provides a little ham to the role of a woman who dresses up her dogs because she misses her dead twin sons. But there's not nearly enough of her. Nor is there enough legitimate suspense.
  33. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    Feb 2, 2012
    50
    The Woman in Black has lovely period atmosphere. Unfortunately, it doesn't have much else besides atmosphere.
  34. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Feb 2, 2012
    50
    In his first starring role post-Harry Potter, Radcliffe must carry the movie with little dialogue and practically nothing to play other than fear, constantly reacting to creepy toys that suddenly spring to life and reflections in windows that shriek unexpectedly at him.
  35. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Feb 2, 2012
    50
    The film is wonderfully atmospheric and full of little frights, but its overall impact is only glancing.
  36. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Feb 1, 2012
    50
    Without Radcliffe at the center looking scared out of his wits, The Woman In Black would seem even slighter than it already does.
  37. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Feb 1, 2012
    50
    In the end, The Woman in Black displays a higher regard for the material makeup of gruesome-looking Victorian dolls than it does for the psychological turmoil of its characters, making one wish that some of the money it budgeted for cranes and fog machines had been offered to a script doctor.
  38. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Feb 2, 2012
    42
    Despite its haunted house setting, the movie's most visible cobwebs are found in Jane Goldman's screenplay, adapted from Susan Hill's novel.
  39. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Feb 2, 2012
    40
    A credible suspense story with a surprisingly bold ending, The Woman In Black is a solid step away from Harry Potter for star Daniel Radcliffe - while it, too, is British and fantastical, the tone is sinister, adult and bleak.
User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 245 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 98
  2. Negative: 14 out of 98
  1. Feb 4, 2012
    9
    One of the better scary movies I've seen in the last few years. As long as you don't go see it in a theater with a bunch of little kids trying to be funny the whole time, or scream at every part (then proceed to laugh because they screamed), this movie will genuinely creep you out. I literally got goose bumps at one point just out of sheer creepiness. I honestly can say I've NEVER had that happen to me in any scary movie - ever. If you like gothic horror films, definitely check this out. I have no idea how the 2 negative reviewers felt the way they did. I do not share a single feeling with anything they said. Full Review »
  2. Feb 6, 2012
    4
    Well, this being my wildcard of the weekend, I decided to see it anyways and was not impressed though my expectations were already in the thoughts of well, you're taking Harry Potter and thrusting that actor into a horror movie role. Radcliffe's acting was not bad, actually it was decent, however it was the boring script and thrills and spooks around every corner that you could see a mile away that really bring this movie down in my opinion. The movie itself, not the acting was the disappointment to me and though as some reviewers have said that this is the end of Radcliffe's career, let's be honest here. Every actor needs to take chances and this was just one chance that turned into a bad one for the young actor. He will rebound (it is not like he needs the money) just not with this movie. Full Review »
  3. Feb 3, 2012
    2
    The Woman In Black is an EPIC FAIL! Never have I seen a horror movie worse than this. Daniel Radcliffe was boss in Harry Potter: his career is now officially over. Full Review »