When screenwriter Jane Goldman confirmed her involvement with the X-Men: First Class sequel, she also briefly mentioned that Hammer Films has been toying with the idea of a followup to its recently-released, lucrative film adaptation of The Woman in Black (which Goldman wrote).
Sure enough, the famous horror movie production house has now officially announced such a project - titled The Woman in Black: Angels of Death - as being in the works. The movie will be based on a story written by the author of the original Woman in Black novel, Susan Hill.
While there's been no mention yet as to whether or not Goldman will eventually contribute to the Angels of Death script, the first draft is being handled by Jon Crocker. A production assistant on the third and fourth installments in the Harry Potter franchise, Mr. Crocker hit it big over the past year (or so) - working as a story editor on such films as Attack the Block, The Iron Lady, The Deep Blue Sea, and The Woman in Black. Hence, he's finally being promoted to a full screenwriting position.
Angels of Death will take place forty years after the events of Hammer's Woman in Black adaptation, focusing on a new couple and "the experience they have when they encounter the haunted setting of Eel Marsh House" - and the vengeful spirit who stalks the decaying property.
Without getting into spoilers, it stands to reason that none of the main cast members of this year's Woman in Black movie (Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, Janet McTeer) will be returning for Angels of Death. Of course, in a supernatural horror franchise like this one, it's impossible to completely discount the appearance of players from the first film - either from beyond the grave or via expository flashbacks.
Although Hammer's Woman in Black adaptation proved (by our count) to be an overall solid, chilling, Gothic ghost story, the undeniable "star" of the film is the Eel Marsh House set (as designed by Niamh Coulter). So long as Angels of Death features a director as equally competent as Woman in Black helmer James Wakins - when it comes to exploiting said set piece for maximum spooky effect - the sequel could match or exceed its predecessor, in terms of scare factor.
Still, unless it manages to secure a bankable name (like Radcliffe) as its star, Angels of Death most likely won't prove to be near the box office success that Woman in Black has been, regardless of its potential improvements in thematic quality. However, the fairly prestigious nature of the Hammer label - and the opportunity to work from a screenplay based on Hill's original treatment - could help to attract some noteworthy talent to this particular horror sequel.
We will be sure to keep you posted on the status of The Woman in Black: Angels of Death as more information is released.
Source: Hammer Films
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