In the sequel to The Woman in Black, it’s 1941, and, to protect them from the Blitz, some kids are evacuated from London to the haunted house at the end of the causeway. Naturally, their lives and souls are soon at risk. Basically, this is TWiB meets The Turn of the Screw.
To that end, the film serves up the characters we’d expect to see. There’s a stern headmistress, her young assistant who takes a gentler hand with the children, a handsome RAF flyer who falls for the assistant and vice versa, a newly orphaned little boy who has become mute, and the mean kid who torments him. They’re all decently written, though, the actors do a good job, and there’s one character who turns out to have a secret that surprised me. So I didn’t mind the stereotypes.
As was true of the original, the movie’s greatest strength is its sets, cinematography, and the atmosphere they create. The island, the causeway, the cross rising from the foggy sea, and especially the dark, derelict mansion full of creepy junk are all as eerie and ominous as before.
The problem, of course, is that we already saw them and met the Woman in Black herself in the first flick. As with many sequels, familiarity makes much of the movie less frightening than it would like to be.
Things pick up toward the end, though, with a plot development that does show us something new and also makes good use of the World War II setting. Then the movie delivers a climax you’ll see coming but that I liked anyway. Partly because it’s the logical follow-through to story elements established previously.
Bottom line, I recommend TWiB 2 if you’ve enjoyed other films of its sub-genre. Just don’t go in looking for a wildly original plot or monster, jaw-dropping new special effects, blood and guts, or humor because you won’t get them.