Following the success of the unnerving first instalment of The Woman in Black, I went to meet with stars of the sequel, Jeremy Irvine and Phoebe Fox, to talk horror, rocking chairs and men in shorts…
Q: So, the film draws on many traditions of the horror genre, what is it about these elements that make the film so scary for audiences?
Jeremy – A lot of it is down to sound mixing and the way that you prepare a scare through the editing. We all know something is about to happen and then it happens when you don’t expect it, and that’s when you get the best jumps.
Phoebe – One of the things that works really well in the first movie, and in the play, that feeds through into our movie is the sound of the rocking chair – it’s terrifying!
Q: There’s a very creepy atmosphere, as you mentioned, throughout the whole film. Is it difficult to evoke this on set in front of a large crew?
P – Sometimes, there’s a moment right near the end of the film where I’m crouched in a corner, and I’m meant to sort of be at the pinnacle of fear and I’m just looking out at thirty men in shorts. I’m just thinking it’s really hard to imagine you’re not there! But then sometimes we were filming in places that were naturally scary like old prisons and crumbling manor houses in the cellar and you think, some of that dear is real and we weren’t having to evoke that much.
Q: Leading on from that, can either of you give me any tips for acting scared?
J – It’s exhausting…
P – Heavy breathing is a classic, it gave me such a dizzy head – it’s really hard!
J – Do a bit of running around keep your heart rate up…
P – Get them to spritz you down with a bit of water to make you look sweaty
J – Yeah that’s always good with a bit of Vaseline on your forehead, bit of shaking
Q: Phoebe did you take any inspiration from any classic horror films in your performance?
P – The director Tom suggested that I watch some horror films led by women because, he said actually you need to picture it a lot bigger than you think – the performances have to be quite big because if you don’t look terrified then the audience wont. So he did a screening of Rosemary’s Baby and I watched The Others as well, just to see how those women negotiated that terror whilst also not, hamming it up.