Review: The Woman in Black - Angel of Death ****

The Woman In Black: Angel of Death. Picture: PA

The Woman In Black: Angel of Death. Picture: PA

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GHOST stories are well suited to the visual medium of film because what terrifies us aren’t the things we can see in the cold light of day but the unspoken horrors that lurk just out of shot or in the inky blackness of a dimly lit background.

The monsters that induced wide-eyed terror in our childhood lurked under the bed or in the wardrobe.

They were silent, deadly menaces, conjured by febrile imaginations and drip-fed on our irrational yet all-consuming fear.

Hammer Horror’s 2012 film version of The Woman In Black, based on Susan Hill’s celebrated horror novella of the same name, certainly hit a raw nerve.

Blessed with a post-Harry Potter leading role for Daniel Radcliffe, the resolutely old-fashioned haunted house yarn became the most successful British horror film for 20 years. When those box office tills started ringing, Tom Harper’s sequel was a foregone conclusion.

Set 40 years later during the Blitz, Angel Of Death continues the reign of terror of the vengeful ghost, which haunts the cobweb-strewn hallways of Eel Marsh House.

Stern headmistress Jean Hogg (Helen McCrory) and sensitive teacher Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox) evacuate a group of London schoolchildren to the countryside unaware of the building’s grim 
history.

The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death is bereft of original ideas and resorts to a familiar array of ominous creaks and groans to herald the arrival of the eponymous spirit. Harper’s sequel sports a 15 certificate and a warning about strong horror and threat. Ironically, the original, a 12A, shoe-horned in more jump-out-of-your-seat moments.