Perhaps the biggest question some fans of Susan Hill’s original Woman in Black treatment will ask is that of, “did she sell out?” After a very successful publication run, the narrative about Jennet Humfrye’s eternal lament because she can never be reunited with her son, Nathaniel, will never change. If she can not find peace, nor will anyone else who decides to make their residence at Eel Marsh Manor. Once when Jennet’s spirit catches sight of a mortal youth, that person is doomed to die. That’s the curse. There’s no rhyme or reason to reveal beyond that to create an effective horror tale.
While the first film dealt with the isolation of horror, the second focuses on the desolation. Against the backdrop of World War II during the London Blitz, Eve (Phoebe Fox) becomes an unwilling governess to a group of children who are to be evacuated to the English countryside for their safety. Unfortunately for one, a young Edward (Oaklee Pendergast), who lost his parents during a recent bombing, his remorse draws the attention of the spirit of Jennet. There’s no mystery to who the Woman in Black is, but instead, there’s a question of why she’s called the Angel of Death. Her shadowy presence almost represents the fear all Brits had during this time because of the regular bombings that occurred. Although this mean spirit does not represent Nazi Germany, the subtext in Jon Croker’s screenplay certainly implies it. He might have worked from a spec sheet that Susan Hill wrote for a cinematic adaptation. She most unlikely wrote a novella either. If she did, that would have been published instead of the novelization by crime-fiction author Martyn Waites. This noticeable fact undermines whatever themes Hill might have intended for the movie.
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