*. It’s not as bad a movie as its reception would lead you to believe. But it’s not good.
*. The idea is OK. It’s 1941 and orphaned children are being removed from London to get out from under the bombs being dropped in the Blitz. Where to send them?
*. Here’s where things get a bit strained. Apparently creepy Eel Marsh House has been sitting empty for 40 years. Falling apart. Located out on a remote island connected only by a causeway. Plus it’s still being haunted by a ghost that kills kids. But apparently it’s the only place available to house a bunch of orphans.
*. That it’s wartime and blackout rules are in effect, even out in the boonies, helps explain the lighting. Which is dark. Very dark. Even darker than The Woman in Black, and that movie was plenty dark. I had trouble seeing anything. Or hearing anything. Unless you have much keener ears than I you’ll want to have the subtitles on to make out any of what the whispered voices are saying.
*. It’s unfortunate that they didn’t try to take things in a different direction. This is very much a rehash of the first movie. Same house. Same back story, which has to be explained all over again, with even less clarity. Same playing on the darkness and overuse of jump scares. Jump scares, I should add, that are predictably arranged and come with no real payoff. There’s no gore, and actually very little violence on tap. And throughout it all one senses a real lack of energy to drag us out of the murky marshes of the plot.
*. So what we’re left with is a pedestrian haunted house story that is itself just a retread/sequel of an unremarkable earlier film. What they had was atmosphere, but even that can get a little stuffy after a while. It’s time to air the place out and let the lady rest.