Extra Time: the easy guide to Blu-ray and DVD extras
The standout in a pretty average package is the commentary which brings in director James Watkins and writer Jane Goldman to add depth and insight, if not laughs and one-liners. The typical awkwardness of putting two behind-the-scenes people in front of the microphone pervades for a while before it becomes clear that both have retained enough knowledge from the set to make the thing well worth listening to. People interested in the casting of Daniel Radcliffe should note the choice to not show him topless whilst Kipps is dressing because it 'would have been too distracting'. He's not quite shed Potter yet. Other highlights include the section exploring the set design of the 'long corridor', the design of The Woman's face/veil and Watkins desire to light everything as dark as humanly possible - obvious in the finished article. An interesting track from a knowledgeable duo.
The problem with pretty much everything else is that the features are just too short to have anything to say. The 'making of' (rather egotistically prefixed with Inside the Perfect Thriller) runs under half an hour, which includes too much in-film footage. Everything else pretty much runs to ten minutes or less, which isn't long enough for anyone to do anything with. Daniel Radcliffe reading a member of the public's ghost story must be a brilliant experience for one individual but, for the rest of us, it doesn't belong on an extras set.
The full list of material also includes;
- No Fear: Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps
- Interviews with Daniel Radcliffe, James Watkins and Jane Goldman
- The Woman In Black Red Carpet Special
- Photo Galleries including A Look Behind the Scenes, Storyboards (by Storyboard and Concept Artist Simon Duric) and Production Sketches (by Production Designer Kave Quinn)
Insightful commentary but there's a noticeable lack of 'fun' throughout and the rest of the features don't amount to anything.
The film still plays well at home although - and this is usually the case - the scares are less resonant than on the big screen and, being a piece that largely relies on jumps and a brooding atmosphere, it may suffer in reception when exposed to a home market, rather than a cinematic one. On second watch too (with commentary) the final scenes stuck out further. The film should definitely end a few beats before it does to retain the sense of overt pessimism the whole thing has throughout. The manufactured feeling come the end is that Watkins, Goldman or, worryingly, the studio, tried to plant a nice fluffy feel over the top of a dark and dangerous conclusion. The more times you see it, the more it grates. Still a great ghostly chiller though. The full cinema review can be found here.
The Woman In Black is out in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray from Monday 18th June.