I recently watched the 2nd Woman in Black movie, Angel of Death, and I was disappointed. What really bugged me and severely lessened the scare factor were the multitude of continuity problems. Then I found out that the first movie had been based off of a book by Susan Hill. I liked the first movie so I was eager to read the book.
There’s a 2nd book as well, The Woman in Black Angel of Death, but it seems to have been based on the screenplay of that 2nd movie which, while I’ve always enjoyed the idea of and have always wanted to try my hand at, I’ve usually found to be unsatisfactory. In my experience, it leads to a second-rate book no matter how good the author. Granted, I haven’t read many books that have come from movies, but those few that I have tried have failed.
One of those books taught me a valuable lesson actually. Just because you have a friend who has an MA in Creative Writing, that doesn’t make that person an awesome writer and you should not automatically give them the job of turning your movie into a book. Two words: Epic Fail.
Back to the book at hand though.
The Woman in Black is a well-known horror movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. It was originally a book written by Susan Hill in the early 1980s. British people loved it so much that it was turned into a stage production and ran for 20+ years. I’m not sure if it’s still running or not. It might be.
A lot has been changed from book to movie – the guy doesn’t die for one. You may think that’s a spoiler but, trust me, it’s not. The book is written in the 1st person narrative from the guy. He’s recalling his past and writing it down in the hopes that he can move on once and for all. His wife and child still die, just not in the way we’re told in the movie. It’s much sadder really because you know he lives through their deaths and has to deal with that loss for some years.
The book ends on a sad note, but when you think that the guy is remembering these events years later and has a new life with a new family, then his life didn’t have a sad ending.
I love ghost stories. It’s my absolute favorite thing to read and think about, even more than romance! Like most people, I enjoyed this book. Or I should say I enjoyed this story. Because the grammar of the book sucked. More than a few times during the course of the book, I’d stop and reread a passage a few times trying to make sense of it for various reasons. Hill changes tenses multiple times in the beginning of the story, at times moving from past to future in the course of one sentence. More than once I was confused as to when something happened. Are we talking about the distant past, the recent past, or his present which was referred to as his future? Ugh! Also there were a few too many sentences that were run-ons or were convoluted and obscured messes.
Maybe it’s a British way of saying things that my American mind isn’t familiar with. I’m leaning toward bad grammar.
Grammar aside, the story was good. There was very little action and it was a bit dull in some parts but I think that’s because I like things to happen. The fear in the book is more of the psychological kind in my opinion. No ghosts popping out to scare you. No turning on a flashlight only to be confronted by a dead face lunging at you where before there was empty space. It’s enough for me to know and understand why this man was frightened.
When I’m home alone at night and I hear something that I shouldn’t hear, I freak. He freaks out a bit much though. Poor guy’s kind of a wuss. But, in his defense, he is in a freaky-deaky house and the townsfolk are kinda not helping by making it all seem super mysterious and spooky. Also, the atmosphere is AMAZING! Talk about the perfect atmosphere to give someone a heart attack! So, yeah, I can understand why he’d be a scaredy cat.
Actually, if I heard people dying but couldn’t see them because of the dense sea-mist I’d probably freak out more than just a little. Considering it’s a ghostly event, I may even soil myself.
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill:
- Good ghost story
- Bad grammar in places
- Not a lot of action
A good yarn to spin around a fire at night.