There are two types of horror film in this world. There are the sort that spray the screen with blood and guts, and then there are those that have you jumping out of your chair through careful use of atmosphere and tension. Though I am more partial to the former, I am not ashamed to admit that I also like the latter, in which this film most definitely falls.
Anyway, set in the early 1900's, Harry Potter... sorry, Daniel Radcliffe, plays Arthur Kipps. A widower who's been struggling to bring up his young son, whilst fulfilling his duties as a solicitor for a legal firm. With his job hanging in the balance, he's given an assignment away from London, to oversee the closure and sale of a remote mansion, who's owner recently died.
Travelling to the small northern village of Crythin Gifford, he finds the locals are none to receptive towards him and seem desperate to keep him away from Eel Marsh House at any cost. Notwithstanding, he bribes one of the locals to take him to the property, which is on old decrepit mansion, located on an island in the middle of marshlands and only accessible at low tides. Of course, being a horror film, whilst he's there sorting through all the legal paperwork, he finds that he might not be completely alone.
Strange noises can be heard in parts of the house, strange shadowy figures can be seen in the background and at one point he thinks he sees the outline of an old woman outside, dressed all in black. Soon afterwards, upon his return to the village, he is shocked to discover that a number of children have just died under mysterious circumstances and the locals seem to be blaming him for some strange reason.
It seems that there is some sort of curse on the village and every time someone sees this mysterious woman, a child dies shortly afterwards. Arthur and one of the locals, a chap named Daily (Ciaran Hinds), think that this is nonsense, but when they discover the true horror behind Eel Marsh house, find that the curse might be all too real...
Adapted from the book of the same name by Susan Hill and produced by the legendary "Hammer" films, this is a classic gothic chiller, which boasts many genuinely creepy scenes and whilst I may be thoroughly desensitised to the effects of horror movies, am forced to admit that even I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up at times. So, if you like ghost stories, then you should love this.