Angel of Death also fails to deliver many scares at all. Hammer Horror, the great British film company who have become synonymous with superb content over the last half a century, had great success with the previous Woman in Black, thanks in part to the involvement of the aforementioned Harry Potter star, but also to the fact that it was a decent little shocker. Where that film, and indeed the novel and stage show it is based on, combined fear and atmosphere into a chilling and satisfying whole, the sequel is hell-bent on trying to make you jump as often as possible.
It undermines and cheapens any of those small scares that do actually work, and in turn makes the movie uninteresting and tedious. Director Tom Harper, who has spent his career thus far in mostly television productions (he is directing the BBC War and Peace adaptation currently), does a decent enough job at creating the right look and feel for the film, encasing it in shadows while keeping proceedings succinctly monotone and void of any real hue of color. But despite showing potential, he is let down by an insistence on continually endeavouring to make the audience jump. Indeed the lazy, ineptness of the screenplay doesn’t help matters, and writer Jon Croker seems keener on ticking every box in a notional 'How To Make A Horror Film' manual than creating enduring characters or a truly riveting storyline. Lead Phoebe Fox shows gusto and enthusiasm but is given little to do but shout, scream and look wide-eyed, while War Horse (2011) lead Jeremy Irvine is flat and charmless. There will be those for whom Angel of Death provides precisely what they are after, but a couple of brief flashes of quality aren't capable of making the film anything close to creepy enough.
Scott Davis | @sjdavis_1982