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Following the box office success of spine-chilling ghost story The Woman in Black, famous horror production company Hammer has given the green light for a sequel.
The first film, which starred Daniel Radcliffe (the globally recognisable face of Harry Potter), was a slow burner at the box office, but has so far made $112 million worldwide, £20 million in the UK alone, a figure which is still on the up. This makes Woman in Black not only the most successful Hammer film ever produced, but also the most successful British horror movie of the last twenty years. Understandably, this has got the business minds at Hammer very excited, and no doubt fuelled their decision to produce a sequel.
At the moment the sequel has been titled The Woman in Black: Angels of Death. The story will return to the haunted Eel Marsh House, but forty years after the end of the first film. A young couple (no doubt against the advice of their estate agent) will move into the crumbling old mansion and all sorts of spooky high jinks will ensue. At the risk of giving away the ending of the first film (spoilers), it seems unlikely that Daniel Radcliffe will be reprising his role in Angels of Death. Then again, we’re not totally certain; this is a film about ghosts after all.
Jane Goldman, who adapted the first film from the best-selling novel by Susan Hill, will not be returning; instead the original script will be written by Jon Crocker. However, the film-makers will be liaising with Susan Hill during production, so the plot of the film will hopefully be a smooth continuation of the story in the same nail-biting style of The Woman in Black.
As yet there is no word on who will direct Angels of Death, nor have there been any rumours about who will star in the film. Without the draw of Daniel Radcliffe, it remains to be seen whether a sequel will enjoy the same reception as the first movie. If a few big names are drawn to the film due to the success of its predecessor, then, with the right casting, there is no reason why Angels of Death could not also have clout at the box office.
The success of Woman in Black has raised speculation about classic horror production company Hammer. Hammer is most known for producing its infamous gothic ‘Hammer Horror’ films during the fifties, sixties and seventies, before almost going bankrupt in the eighties. Since 2007 the company has been making an attempt to revitalise itself, and following The Woman in Black it looks as though it has succeeded admirably.
Hammer is onto a good thing with The Woman in Black, but the quick production of a sequel could still go wrong. Will it signal a return to the glory days of British horror, or just be a rushed attempt to cash in on the first film? UK horror fans will have their fingers crossed for the former.