I love ghosts. They’re not strangers to me. I’ve been seeing them since I was a child, and now, as an adult, I investigate them. So, when the opportunity came up to see a good ghost film, I grabbed my two fellow investigators and headed over to the neighborhood theater. I’d seen the 2012 film, The Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe. The film was great, the story, scary and the ghost, nasty. Would the sequel be as good? Grab your ghost hunting kit and follow me.
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death was directed by Tom Harper and written by Jon Croker from a story by Susan Hill. Produced by Hammer Films and Entertainment One, it stars Phoebe Fox, Jeremy Irvine, Helen McCrory, Adrian Rawlins, Leanne Best and Ned Dennehy. The film begins with London under attack from Nazi bombs. It’s during the Blitz of World War Two; the war to end all wars. The populace is hiding in bomb shelters under the city streets.
It is in one of these bomb shelters, amid explosions, that we meet the young teacher, Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox) and the school headmistress, Jean, played all upper lip and British fortitude by the talented Helen McCrory. They need to get their young students out of London and to safety by taking them to the country side to live. These children will be separated from their families and their homes to live at a dusty run down estate. That’s the bad news but it gets worse.
This estate is haunted by a vengeful and dangerous spirit. Remember, you are in death as you are alive. This spirit known to the village folk as “The Woman in Black” has a history. Deemed mentally unfit while alive, Jennet Humpfrye had her newborn son taken from her. The boy was raised by her sister Alice until his untimely death by drowning. As a ghost, the madness that claimed Jennet while alive is enhanced after she commits suicide.
The ghost (Leanne Best) was wickedly insane both in life and death and that is why she kills children. I mention this because as a ghost investigator, we deal with all kinds of personalities from the other side. If you’re not careful, you can become a casualty like the poor child in my article about the angry ghost. The children who are cared for by Eve and Jean are in danger. This ghost shows no mercy for the poor children who are already traumatized from being separated from their parents. Luckily for them, Eve learns some information from Jacob (Ned Dennehy) the blind hermit and, she makes friends with a handsome air force pilot, Harry Burnstow (Jeremy Irvine).
Operation Pied Piper
As daunting as dealing with an evil entity may seem, what I’ve always found troubling was the practice of taking of children away from their parents as a precautionary means during wartime. Millions of children were moved from urban areas into the neighboring country side as part of the British evacuation plan during World War II; some going as far as Australia. The children, if not accompanied by their mothers, were consigned to host homes.
Not all the adults serving as host families were nice people. I’m guessing the tales of mistreatment told by some of the returning children were never investigated. England did what they thought was needed to keep the nation’s children safe, but would Americans ever be able to do this? It’s a hard choice to make; keep children with their families or risk them dying in an air-raid and, what about the effects on these children? In 1941, Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund Freud did a twelve month study and found that separation from parents was more traumatizing than the bombing.
Eve has a dark secret and one that is similar to our ghost, but Eve is determined to keep the children that are entrusted to her, safe. Eve is especially worried about one little boy, Edward (Oaklee Pendergast) who the ghost is intent on possessing. No one believes her about the ghost and, it isn’t until a few children are killed that Jean agrees to leave the house. The ghost is a spiteful apparition and she won’t easily give up the fight. Eve and Harry must outsmart her. Will they? Maybe if they follow my helpful tips on ghost hunting.
Although this sequel did not receive the same positive reviews as its predecessor, I would encourage you to see the film. Whenever you find three investigators jumping in their seats, you know the film is good. Except for the spirit at the library in my post about the angry ghost, I’ve only encountered one other nasty human spirit and that was in Charleston during an investigation of the old prison. The spirit was that of a female serial killer, Lavinia Fisher.
Human spirits, whether nice or naughty, have to follow the rules and usually don’t display abilities they didn’t have while living. But, when you’re dealing with a spirit that had a severe personality disorder while alive, then you have a big problem and, you might need to bring in the big guns like a priest or a demonologist. Because the townsfolk of Crythin Gifford didn’t bother to control their ghost, lots of children died. It was an unconscionable act on the part of the adults, but good news for us lovers of ghosts because I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of The Woman in Black.