The Horror Honeys: The Woman in Black 2: She’s back! Sort of…

The Woman in Black 2: She’s back! Sort of…

A Supernatural Honey Sequel Review by Suzanne

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death (2014)

Last year I wrote a review comparing the original 1989 version of The Woman in Black to the unnecessary, but enjoyable, remake from 2012 (You can check it out HERE). I did this because it seemed no one, save a few die hard fans, were even aware there was an original. As a life-long lover of all things obscure and British, I felt it was my obligation to set that straight. The remake was also the first real mainstream success of the return of the house of Hammer Films, a studio to whom I essentially owe my love of horror to. Unfortunately, when a horror film sees a real return, a sequel is inevitable. 

The story: During WWII, a small group of orphaned children are evacuated from London and taken to Eel March house, which is now completely dilapidated, under the care of Eve (Phoebe Fox) and Jean (Helen McRory). One of the boys, Edward (Oaklee Pendergrass), after the traumatic death of his parents, has stopped speaking and takes solace in drawing. This also makes him a target for some of the older children, but Eve has an instant connection to Edward and makes it her mission to protect him. Eve knows the house is a safety concern from a practical standpoint, but it isn’t long before she senses they are not alone on the island. Battling her personal demons, Eve also finds she is battling the ghost of Jennet Humfrye for Edward’s soul.

She's right behind me, isn't she?
Angel of Death takes place 40 years after the events involving Arthur Kipps, who is not mentioned. Although there is no real connection to the Daniel Radcliffe film, if you haven’t watched it, you might end up a little lost, since the backstory of Jennet is little more than glossed over. The story is basically swiss cheese. Where the 2012 film had moments of real tension and was genuinely creepy, its sequel relies on a few half-assed recreations of scenes and poorly executed jump scares. On top of this, the film was so dark, I’m not entirely sure what happened in a third of the scenes. I should also mention that in the whole of the movie, there isn’t one real shot of the ghost. I don’t know if that was due to budget or bad editing, but it defeats the purpose of the title and the tie in.

That said, one thing I love about Hammer and its films, old and new, is how beautiful they look. You know, when you can see what’s happening. Color, for me, when used properly, can add so much to a film, even if some of the other elements fall short, especially in a period piece.

Longest, most predictable game of Hide-and-Seek ever... 
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the series of films is the Harry Potter connection. Adrian Rawlins, who appears in Angel of Death as the unscrupulous Dr. Rhodes, starred as Arthur in the original 1989 film, the role Daniel Radcliffe would assume in the remake. Rawlins also played James Potter, Harry’s dad, in every Potter film except Half-Blood Prince

I went into this with incredibly low expectations and they were met. It’s a watchable film, but not scary or interesting by any stretch of the imagination. Angel of Death was an obvious attempt to cash in on the success of its predecessor, but predictably failed.

This is the face of failure.
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death is available on Netflix streaming right now. Although The original Woman in Black is out of print and tough to find, if you have the opportunity to see it, I highly recommend it. You can easily find the novel by Susan Hill, which is worth a read as well.

Supernatural Honey verdict: 2.5 soggy bogs out of 5