The 2012 film version of The Woman in Black, produced by Hammer Horror.Arthur Kipps, a grieving widowed man, is sent to settle the affairs of a deceased widow. The locals seem to be in a rush to hurry him along his way, but he resolves to do the job he came to do.It isn't until later, as bodies begin to pile up — upon the bodies already there — that Arthur learns why.There is a sequel in development.Not to be confused with the trope Woman in Black.
This film contains examples of:
Absurdly Youthful Father: Arthur. Lampshaded by several characters after learning he's both a father and a widower, despite his youth.
An Axe to Grind: Arthur grabs a hatchet at one point, whilst investigating the strange noises in the house.
Bittersweet Ending: The protagonist and his son die, but they're reunited with his wife and seemingly happy to be together. Also, unlike the rest of the children the Woman has taken, they're free to move on to the afterlife. However the Bittersweet Ending is Bitter enough to veer into Downer Ending territory — Arthur and Joseph are dead, after all, and the Woman in Black will continue to torment the village.
The Downer Ending is far worse for Sam, who, despite helping Arthur in trying to appease the Woman in Black, is rewarded for all his efforts by witnessing his friend die along with his son, knowing that the Woman is still going to torment the village and prevent his son from being able to move on to the afterlife.
Eye contact with the ghost causes children to calmly kill themselves in the most immediate — and usually terrible — way possible.
Jennet herself, after first being denied any contact with her son, and then her son dying in an accident in the bog and never having his body recovered.
Even Evil Has Standards: The title character appears to let the Kipps family pass on, rather than stay on Earth like the rest of her victims, out of gratitude for Arthur's effort to appease her and sacrificing his life in an attempt to save his son.
Or maybe the only reason Kipps' child didn't join the Woman's ghost army is because his father died with him, trying to protect him.
Evil-Detecting Dog: Daily's dog can sense whenever wrathful Jennet is nearby, or one of her ghost kids.
On the other hand, it also may have made Jennet even angrier. It's implied by the end of the film that Jennet may have been an emotionally disturbed woman in life, and therefore actually an unfit mother. What with the scrawled messages and the madness mantra and all.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you watch carefully (or pause judiciously) you can catch little glimpses of the Woman in the background of a lot of scenes. Usually leading up to a Jump Scare, but not always. Notably when Arthur is running off into the woods at the beginning, the camera passes by her silhouette, but if you're not paying close attention you might mistake it for a tree, but there are others.
Ghostly Goals: The titular ghost exists to cause the children of the nearby town to kill themselves. Arthur believes that she's doing this because she wants to be reunited with her son, and he risks his life to accomplish this.
Girl in the Tower: Simultaneous use and inversion. The solicitor's daughter is locked in the office basement to protect her from Jennet. It fails horribly.
Heroic Sacrifice: Arthur jumps on the tracks to prevent his son being hit by a train. It doesn't work, but his willingness to sacrifice himself for his son prevent the Woman in Black taking him, allowing them both to join his wife in the afterlife.
Hollywood Fire: Used when the solicitor's office burns up. Kipps charges in to save their daughter, and comes out with little more than soot on his face and burnt hands.
Hope Spot: Arthur manages to reunite Jennet with the body of her son, which seems to put her to rest, and thus saves the life of his son, right? Nope, she still can't forgive what was done to her, so she appears to Arthur's son, which leads to both his and Arthur's deaths.
During afternoon tea, there's a shift in the air, A bone trembling chill that tells you she's there, There are those who believe the whole town is cursed, But the house in the marsh is by far the worst, What she wants is unknown, but she always comes back, The specter of darkness, The woman in black.
Just Eat Gilligan: The plot hole of the book is neatly covered here: Whereas in the book, Kipps is notified before leaving that the widow had stacks of documents that would take him days to sort through, the movie has his contact in the village hand him a small envelope of papers and insist that this is everything. He's lying, of course; by the end of the first day, Kipps has a large and unsorted pile of papers on the table in the house, and he continues to discover more as he proceeds in his investigation.
Misplaced Retribution: Despite the Woman in Black holding her sister as one of those responsible for taking her son away from her, leaving him to die in the marsh and never bothering to recover the body, she apparently allowed her to die of old age with zero comeuppance on her part. Of course, letting her suffer all those years with the crippling guilt of being responsible for the death of the subsequent children might have been her goal.
It's debatable whether the Woman in Black really never took revenge on her sister. In her papers, Alice left many scrawled messages such as "She will haunt me to the grave" and "God protects me": one has to wonder if death would not have been preferable to living her whole life playing peek-a-boo with her sister's crazy ghost.
Monkey Morality Pose: At least one set of the monkey toys was in the See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil pose.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: To see the woman in black is to cause her to kill one of the local children. Two surefire ways to make her appear are to go to the house in the marsh and to rifle through her things. So, of course, when our hero comes to visit...
Arthur even invokes this towards Sam when he calls him out for not warning him to stay away from the house, especially after learning that he had a son of his own. Sam defends this by pointing out that he simply didn't want to believe the stories and preferred to believe that his son was in the afterlife, rather than lost as a thrall to the Woman in Black.
Powder Keg Crowd: When children start dying after Arthur arrives in town, the townsfolk blame him because of his connection with the manor, and at one point surround Daily's car as he's ready to drive out of town. Daily defuses the situation...before nearly running them over.
At the beginning when Arthur falls asleep on the train, he is leaning against the window looking at his reflection... how many times have we seen that shot in the Harry Potter films?
This sort of seemed like a shout out to Harry Potter's epilogue — in the very beginning of the movie, Daniel Radcliffe is leaning down and reassuring his son and easing his worries. It was startlingly similar to an adult Harry Potter comforting Albus Severus.
The movie ends with a parent dying to save his son, much like the events that triggered the Harry Potter story.
The upstairs landing of Eelmarsh House has the same pattern on the floor as the hotel carpet in The Shining.
Skeptic No Longer: Sam Daily finally acknowledges the supernatural nature of the house and the existence of the ghost in the last act, and tries to help Kipps lay the ghosts to rest.
Unfinished Business: Jennet watched her son die, his body never recovered but left in the bog where it was with a simple cross to mark its place. Our hero concludes that reuniting the two may well lay her to rest. It doesn't work.
Ungrateful Bastard: If you think reuniting the ghost with her lost child would stop her killing spree, you'd be wrong.