This morning I awoke with great anticipation for I decided to go see Woman in Black today. It is something I wanted to see from the moment it came out but have put it off for the “right” time. Yesterday I noticed there was a 10:40 am showing today – who in their right mind would go to a movie that early? I knew at once that this was the time I’d been waiting for – there would be hardly anyone stupid enough to see a scary movie first thing in the a.m.
It was freezing cold walking the dogs – wind blowing so hard my fingers were turning blue after half a block. Should have worn gloves I guess. Baxter and Bennie were oblivious to the cold making me envy them their fur coats. Came in and changed into more appropriate “social” clothes for my treat and it was a treat – I don’t go to the movies very often. Going to The Grey was the first movie I had been to in quite a while and Woman in Black is based on the book I read last month by Susan Hill. While the book wasn’t overly scary, I knew the movie would be.
Waiting in a relatively long line for 10:40 am, started feeling glum that so many people were like-minded about morning movie going. A loud group of “older” women made me cringe – they were too chatty to be quiet through a 90 minute scary picture. In front of them was a young couple who couldn’t seem to keep their hands to themselves – I almost told them to get a room, that thrillers did not make for good foreplay but I refrained. Behind me was a couple with their baby…how exciting was that going to be? Love when people take babies to movies!! It increases the scary essence ten-fold to have a baby crying through the whole thing. Ugh! Why couldn’t I go to the movie by myself?
After getting my ticket, I raced to the head of the line for nachos and soda – if I was going to the movie, I was going to do it right. Followed the growing crowd down the long hallway, Woman in Black was towards the very back which meant one of the smaller theaters – surprising considering it was the #2 movie out now. I groaned as the baby began to whimper but did feel a bit sorry for the mother who received several reproachful glares from others. Maybe she figured no one would go to a movie this time of day so she was safe to bring her child – I don’t know.
Was terribly relieved when everyone in front of me turned left into “The Vow” instead of right into my theater. Tossed my coat in the chair with the long bar in front of it – perfect for my desire to prop my feet up on something. The seats recline wonderfully so quite comfy. As I put my soda in the cup holder and then put the straps of my purse around that so it wouldn’t rest on the floor, I had the opportunity to look around.
Although I could see my rows perfectly, the back two rows were shrouded in an inky darkness that my eyes could not penetrate. Not wanting to sit down with my back to seats that could house some maniac strangler, I waited to sit down till a preview came on that briefly lit the entire theater – there was no one behind me.
As I plopped down in the chair, I felt a shiver overtake me as the image of a strangler sitting behind me flashed in my head. With a wary glance over my shoulder, I again confirmed that the theater was empty save for me. Found myself kind of hoping a few stragglers popped into the room before the movie started but this was not to be. The movie began but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was someone else in the room with me. Several times I found myself looking over my shoulder, squinting into the blackness searching for the source of my uneasiness. Each time I would acknowledge that the theater was empty and turn back around with a sigh of relief only to feel the creepiness start again the moment I started to relax.
Only the glow of the exit sign lit the immediate area. Didn’t they start a policy of leaving other lights on but down low so people didn’t trip if they had to get up to go to the bathroom? I know they did because I had complained to the management the first time I noticed it – I found it very annoying. Today I would have welcomed the lights but either the lights weren’t working or someone forgot to turn them on.
When the young lad in the movie first sees the Woman in Black, one wonders if he was merely hallucinating – after all, the townspeople had been less than welcoming. But then the first child dies with everyone blaming him for coming there. Anxious to get back to London, the young man decides to stay at the scary mansion overnight though he knows he has seen many strange things there already such as rockers starting to rock for no reason and knocking sounds he can’t identify.
It is one fright after another as the woman seeks vengeance against those who had done her no harm. Each eerie situation was enhanced by the feeling that I was not alone in the theater. No matter how often I turned to look for the eyes that were watching me, I couldn’t find them yet not finding them did not ease the sensation.
A movement out of the corner of my eye sent me to my feet as the woman in black attacked the man in the film. There was nothing there – had there ever been? On the screen one of the characters is saying “If we open the door to superstition, where does that lead?” I chuckle to myself because he is right – I am watching a scary movie and psyching myself out. Is there such a thing as ghosts? I dunno but I’m sure there are no ghosts in the theater with me…right? My levity is forced.
The young man cautiously makes his way down a dark hall to investigate a banging noise in a locked room. As I shrink away from the fright I know is coming in front of me, I again see a movement, a shifting of the darkness behind me. Nachos go flying as I jump to my feet, squinting to see what was there just as the main character sees the woman coming at him. There is nothing there but I am considering standing in the light under the exit sign for the rest of the movie. Frowning I force myself to sit back down. This is pure silliness. I inform myself.
Barely had I sat down though when I noticed her. She wasn’t sitting behind me as I had thought but off to the left and in front of me by several rows. Her dark hair is pulled up in a bun, her black dress obviously a relic from the turn of the century. She starts to turn to look in my direction; her dark, menacing eyes boring into mine when the screen flashes to a day scene and she is gone. Seeing the row vacant does little to stop the pounding in my chest. Immediately I start packing up my stuff, I will not stay in this dark room another moment with a ghost. A glance up reveals that she is back but now a few rows closer and her pale lips are moving, saying something to me that I can’t hear.
With a strangled cry, I jumped over the railing that I had so happily propped my feet on just 80 minutes before. It is a tough call, do I stay for the ending or do I scram out while I still can? As I turn, I see her standing in front of the exit door. Her scowl makes my blood run cold, I feel faint. But the ending comes, the credits start to roll and she is gone. My hands don’t quit shaking until I am out in the hallway bathed in the bright light. Happy movie-goers start streaming out of The Vow – women gabbing about the sad scenes, couples wondering if their relationship will ever be that intense, even the baby is mollified. None of them know what I have just seen – none of them take note of my pale face or trembling hands.
I know you think it was imagination but I know what I saw. Say what you will but I can honestly say that today I saw “The Woman in Black.”