The first film’s early 20th century setting has been replaced by World War II era. Amidst the German airstrikes against England, school teacher Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox) transplants her young students to the country village of Crythin Gifford. This is where the action in the first film took place and, unfortunately for Eve and the kids, not much has changed. Laying low in the same house which caused so much trouble for Radcliffe in part one, Eve quickly discovers the place is haunted. Just like in the first film, kids become compelled to attempt suicide.
For one thing, most of the big jump moments throughout Angel of Death turn out to be fake-outs. You can only cry wolf so many times, so eventually we don’t trust that director Tom Harper is really trying to frighten us. Not to continually compare the previous film to this one (thought it’s hard not to, given the extraordinarily wide difference in the quality between the two), but Radcliffe’s character had a well-told, emotionally-focused back story. Here, Eve has a back story involving a child she was forced to give up after having it at a young age. But there’s no real satisfaction in this tragic past; it doesn’t connect well with the story. As for “the woman” herself (Leanne Best), we learned her whole story in the first film. Now she’s just a generic ghost.
The cinematography in The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death is about as dark as you can get yet still see something. George Steel’s digital work here so dark, it often makes it frustrating to see what’s happening. I guess that was intentional to make it scarier. Whatever the case, the black levels on the Blu-ray transfer are consistently deep. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is everything one would want in a modern horror film. The “scare” moments definitely provide a bass-heavy jolt. The overall dynamics are excellent throughout, with an effectively drastic contrast between the quiet moments and the more action-oriented ones.
Don’t look to the Blu-ray for a ton of special features. There are two featurettes: “Pulling Back the Veil,” a 14-minute ‘making of’ and “Chilling Locations,” a five-minute look at the shooting locations. There’s also a deleted scene. The Blu-ray package includes a downloadable digital copy as well.