Daniel Radcliffe of "Harry Potter" fame is set to star in another movie based on a book, "The Woman in Black," this February. Based on the 1983 book written by Susan Hill which was made into a TV movie in 1989, Vintage Books has re-released the novel.
A moody, atmospheric ghost story, "The Woman in Black" starts with an old man named Arthur enjoying the Christmas festivities with his stepchildren and wife. His older stepchildren are amusing themselves telling ghost stories and asks him to tell one. He freaks out and leaves the house, later coming back to pen his story of his time as a young solicitor sent to the small English town of Crythin Gifford to settle the estate of the late Alice Drablow and of her home, Eel Marsh House, which is only accessible at low tide.
Arthur arrives to find the townspeople spooked by the very mention of Drablow or Eel Marsh House, but figures it to be small town nonsense and attends the funeral. There, as one of the few participants, he sees a strange woman dressed all in black with a wasted-away look.
He makes mention of it to his companion and land agent, Mr. Jerome, who freaks out - he saw no such woman. Arthur is chilled but goes on to the house (though no one will take him all the way) to sort through the estate's papers and there hears strange noises, of someone moving around in the empty house, a child's cry, and of a pony and cart moving around outside.
As Arthur investigates the family further, he learns the identity of the ghostly woman in black and learns of her promised vengeance. He doesn't believe in ghosts or curses, but he can't deny what he experiences either, and little does he know that he is putting his loved ones in danger even after he leaves Eel Marsh House.
This is a great gothic ghost story like Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House," where the frights are more subtle, but just as creepy - at least they scare me more than blood and gore do. The book does have a slow build, but by the time you get to Arthur's time at Eel Marsh House, you are invested in his story to see where it goes from there. I can't wait to see what Radcliffe's movie is like and compare it to the atmospheric creepiness of the book.