The new year has just begun, and I’m already gearing up for a slate of 2012 book-to-film releases that will have me doing a happy dance down the theater aisle. Leading the pack, of course, is The Hunger Games, which will be released on March 23rd, and from the lack of copies on my library’s shelves, it seems everyone else’s anticipation is just as great as my own. But this is not a post about Collins’ sure-to-be blockbuster, nor is it about the December 2012 release of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit or the TBA release of the Stephen Chbosky-helmed The Perks of Being a Wallflower. No, this is about Daniel Radcliffe and The Woman in Black.
While not necessarily written for a teen audience, Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black is a period ghost story that includes all the creepy elements of a good horror tale without the gore. From isolated English villages to fog-covered, treacherous marshes, Hill’s compact tome is both suspenseful and spooky, keeping readers hooked until the final, unexpected conclusion. Teens not familiar with the works of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters may find Hill’s quick read a bit intimidating due to the language and complex sentence structure, but it’s a perfect primer for a more simple time where manners and social etiquette ruled. The story doesn’t get muddled in pretension, however, and the chills are enough to satisfy even the most skeptical reader.
So, if you were a producer and wanted to bring this story to the masses on the big screen, how would you address the potentially off-putting elements of the story without losing the quaint Britishness of the book? Two words: Daniel Radcliffe. Casting Radcliffe as protagonist Arthur Kipps is a marketing goldmine in many respects. Not only will his presence bring the Londoner to life, but he’ll also certainly draw in an abundance of teens who will be eager to see what the actor-formerly-known-as-Harry-Potter is doing nowadays. In his first feature film since the end of the series, Radcliffe is bound to reach an audience who may not have known about this ghost story otherwise; hopefully, they won’t be disappointed. If the trailers are any indication, then moviegoers, both teen and adult alike, will be on the edge of their seats.
If you’re looking for a short, suspenseful story this winter, then The Woman in Black may do the trick. Perhaps after the film opens on February 3rd, moviegoers will be seeking out their own copy of this atmospheric book that’s certain to have them reading with their lights on.
— Audrey Sumser, currently reading Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor with the lights out
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