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January 9th, 2015

The Woman in Black 2: The Angel of Death

Starring: Phoebe Fox, Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine, Jude Wright, Amelia Crouch, Pip Pearce, Casper Allpress, Adrian Rawlins, Leanne Best, Amelia Pidgeon, Leilah de Meza, Alfie Simmons, Oaklee Pendergast, and more.

Directed by: Tom Harper Screenplay by: Jon Croker Story by: Susan Hill Cinematography by: George Steel Music by: Marco Beltrami, Brandon Roberts, and Marcus Trumpp

Premise: Forty years after the last visitor stayed at Eel Marsh House, two teachers and a gaggle of students come to the house to escape the bombings in London during WWII. Tom, one of the students under Eve Parkin's, care lost his mother right before the group left London. His grief draws the Woman in Black, yet it is Eve Parkin's secret that draws out her ire. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Phoebe Fox was delightful as Eve Parkins. From her concern for her charges to the very 'stiff upper lip' attitude, it was easy to read her fears and feelings. Helen McCrory gave Jean Hogg an air of efficiency and certainty, and later strength. Jude Wright as Tom made you feel for him as he attempts to deal with his recent tragedy. Jeremy Irvine was perfect as the young pilot and possible love interest, and made his portrayal all the more poignant when other information is revealed.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Just as in the old days, the one thing Hammer films always excelled at was atmosphere. And with the amazing special effects now available, Hammer has taken their craft to new levels as they mix the old with the new.

Rather than resort to typical scare fest tactics, the film makers go more for the creepy - the flicker of movement just at the corner of the eye, a creeping hand, doors that unlock themselves, disturbing visuals. The loud thumping permeating the house, like a gigantic heart, growing less and less the close you come, until you find a rocking chair going back and forth in a dark corner with no one sitting there.

They have a lot of fun with fire at the airfield. And the house is creepier than ever. The road and the rising water and the marsh - great stuff.

The scene in the water towards the end was a lovely piece of work as well.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: My husband and I didn't see the first Woman in Black at the theaters. We're not big into modern jump horror. But the draw of the time period it was set in, the fact Daniel Radcliffe was starring in it, and that it was a Hammer Film, got us to watch it on TV. We loved it - it had all the elements we liked, creepy but not a scare fest, had a mystery, and was fun. So when we saw there was going to be a Woman In Black 2, we decided to definitely see it on the big screen. I wasn't sure how they could pull another one after the first, but they did!

As with the first film, the time was set in an interesting time period - 1940s, during the London bombings and the exodus of children out to remote locations to keep them safe. Like in the first film, there are mysteries entwined in the plot, but this time they relate more to those coming to the house than the ghost in the house. And hints begin even before the group arrives at the house.

Subliminally, many social beliefs of the time are brought out for inspection by the modern film viewer - how one was expected to deal with grief and loss, the expectations on women and men of the period, the harsh realities of war, and the extremes of keeping a brave face and avoiding scandal (keep an eye on the parents in the recurring hospital scene - speaks volumes!). The glimpse into the lives of those in London said a lot as well.

As with the first film, hubby and I had a ton of fodder to talk about once it was over. I love the duality they play with with regards to the Woman In Black herself. If just studied on the surface, she seems to be an evil, vindictive creature - but in fact, at least after Arthur Kipps helped her in the first film, she's turned into a more nurturing and sane creature. But the states of life and death mean nothing to her - they are states of being - and not something she cares about one way or another. So if to teach you a lesson or to reward you means you have to die, so be it. So when you look at matters from that perspective, it opens up a whole new way of seeing the events presented in the film.

4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: For those who saw the first film, you won't recognize the village. In many ways, it was creepier than the Eel Marsh House! The haunted house itself showed aging, wear and tear, yet other things within it were almost pristine, as if guarded. The hallway upstairs was as long and foreboding as ever. The marsh, the cemetery, and that long winding piece of road with the encroaching water - still super creepy. The lonely view from the upstairs window and the cross always in view. Very nice!

Conclusion: If you like your horror to be spooky, filled with mystery, and all things supernatural, this film is for you! Great mood, great settings, perfect for creepy story time.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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