It’s a shame that Horror Films took this long to regroup and reform back into a highly profitable film studio again in the U.K. Had they taken the original philosophy of the studio and showed what could be done to the horror movie back in the 1980s and ’90s, we probably wouldn’t be subjected to the increasingly sick gorefests that pass for horror movies today. But it was during that era when the studio fell on hard times and didn’t see a renaissance until just the last few years when “The Woman in Black” brought back something long lost.
No doubt the movie wouldn’t have been discovered if not for lead Daniel Radcliffe having the tidal wave of “Harry Potter” not far behind him. That’s because the film didn’t promote violence or gore and made it clear it was going to just be an exercise in atmosphere. Once the Radcliffe demographic sat down to watch, they must have realized they were seeing something fantastic. They were being bowled over with scares based merely by sound effects, shadows and hardly a drop of blood.
It was that very movie which was probably 25 years overdue. It was about the late 1980s when horror movies started getting more graphic and slowly evolving to the point where the “Saw” franchise set the horror genre into a corner with no place to go. Even though it’s possible to imagine worse graphic violence, it’s hard to fathom anyone expecting it without turning into a modern society reminiscent of the ancient Mayans.
Perhaps Hollywood realizes they can’t get any worse in a horror film and why we’ve been seeing the same old thing in the last few years. Regardless, “The Woman in Black” truly set a new path for the horror film that hasn’t yet been copied by other studios. Right now, it seems reserved exclusively for Hammer with their follow-up film “The Quiet Ones” out in April 2014. Based on the trailer, it’s going to set a whole new level for scary without cutting people to shreds.
Will the next roster of Hammer films finally convince other studios to follow their style? With each new studio horror film promising to be scarier than the last one (and sometimes failing to live up), Hammer may finally show the true influence from the British on American film.
Having a modern example of insinuation in horror films needs to be done when movies from decades ago sometimes get written off as being products of a different era. Masterful directors like Val Lewton and his “Cat People” from the early 1940s show you what was possible already 70 years ago and far from outdated today. All of his films bring a feeling of dread that stays with you every time you watch them.
“The Quiet Ones” is probably going to give an equal feeling of intense dread considering it involves psychological experiments done in real life. Those used to intensely gory images will be surprised at how insinuation can play mind games on you and give you feelings that you’ll always remember.
Hopefully all of this carries over to the unnecessary sequel to “The Woman in Black”, “Angels of Death.” Regardless, “The Quiet Ones” may be the one that takes Hammer Films to being a leader and a template toward how a horror movie should be made to bring timelessness back.