The Woman in Black The narrative of the film involves a lawyer, the protagonist, going to an abandoned house to sort out the paperwork of the previous owners who have died. He discovers that there was a death of a young boy at the house and the mother, the antagonist, never forgave her family for what happened. When she died she became vengeful spirit and claimed the lives of children in the village near the abandoned house. She haunts the house that used to be her family home and attacks the protagonist. This makes her the ‘external monster’ from Neale’s theory because she is from somewhere else and is persecuting the community. I think the antagonist in this film is effective for the horror genre because the film is in the paranormal/psychological horror sub genre and so she is not always visible. Therefore when she does appear it makes it more scary for the audience because they are apprehensive about what she looks like and how scary she will be.
Mise en Scene Costume In these few pictures the antagonist is shown to be wearing a black dress and black veil over her face. The colour black is associated with death and this fits with the narrative as the antagonist is still mourning for the death of her son whilst bring death to other families by claiming the lives of their children. This creates the preferred reading that she is associated with death. There is makeup used to help reinforce this as a reading as she has a place face and very dark eyes and this shows that she is no longer living but however she is in the world of the living and this makes it more scary for the audience. Lighting The lighting used throughout the film when she is present in low key lighting and therefore even when she is not visible the audience can understand that she is present I the scene. The low key lighting makes the scene dark which makes it even more eerie for the audience and makes them predict that she may appear.
Location The location in the film is an abandoned old mansion, that is overgrown and un kept, and it is isolated from the nearest village. The location of this film supports Richard Dyer’s theory that horror films have conventions which are reinforced by the stereotypical views of society. A stereotypical view that society have about isolated locations is that they are places to be afraid of because people living there are not normal if they are living apart from society. The Woman in Black have used this stereotypical view for the location and setting of the film and this makes it more scary for viewers as they already have the ideology that something bad will happen at this isolated house.
Props As the antagonist is a spirit and is not visually shown often in the film she does not have a weapon as the prop unlike other horror films where the antagonist has a weapon to cause pain towards the protagonist. The props used in this film are used to show her presence when she is not visible. These props consist of toys and other objects in the house for example toys are used which she controls and moves with her power and there is a scene when a rocking chair is used which begins to rock under control. For the audience this makes the threat of the antagonist more scary because they cannot see who is controlling the movement of the objects and it plays on the fear of the unknown. Weather The weather conditions in the film are not pleasant and include rain, wind and thunder in some scenes and in the film the sun is not shining once and this helps emphasize the eerie atmosphere of death which is linked to the antagonist. This is tapping into the fears of the audience as some people are scared of rain, wind and thunder as it creates an unsettling environment and therefore the scenes which have these weather conditions are scary to those who have this as a fear.
Media Language Camera When the antagonist is shown she is shown in a variety of shots such as close up shots, long shots and extreme long shots. The long shots that are used show the antagonist and her costume of black well and because of the black costume it almost looks like a silhouette as the audience is not shown her face much. The extreme long shots are used in the film to show her presence when she appears for example behind the protagonist or in the garden outside the house. The close up shots are used on the antagonist’s face as to make the audience scared and jump when they see her face up close because it is rare in the film that her face is actually shown. The close up shows the screaming expression on her face and as though she is looking right at the audience. When the antagonist is shown she sometimes floats forward very quickly towards the camera and the camera tracks her in a dolly shot and this scares the audience because it is as though she is as though she coming towards them and this may make the audience jump.
Sound In the film there is a lot of silence and diegetic sounds as to reinforce how isolated they are and it also creates more suspense for the audience as they are waiting and anticipating that the antagonist will present herself or make some sort of noise to show she is there. There are diegetic sounds when the protagonist is in the house that are coming from a source other than him and the audience can assume that these sounds are being made by the antagonist. Often when these sounds are being made there can be abrupt non diegetic sounds as well and these can make the audience jump. There is also abrupt non diegetic sounds or a soundtrack when the antagonist shows herself and this makes the audience jump and be scared of the antagonist. Other sounds are wind and the toys in the son’s bedroom being moved and controlled. When the antagonist is shown she sometimes screams and this is very high pitched and loud and again this will make the audience jump because it sudden and unpredicted. Editing The editing in the film is mostly short pace to build up the narrative however when something is happening to the protagonist the pace of editing speeds up. When the antagonist is shown she is shown is a short take rather than a long take making it scary for the audience because they anticipate to see her and then only see her quickly and it makes them jump.