In the first big-screen adaptation of Susan Hill’s 30-year-old novel, a bleary-eyed Radcliffe plays Victorian era solicitor Arthur Kipps, a financially-burdened single father to an infant son.

Sent to the bleak English countryside to finalise a property sale for a deceased estate, a world of terror and superstition awaits Kipps.

There is no gore or violence in this horror film, which begs the question: have its makers attempted to cash-in on Radcliffe’s young and faithful following?

However despite a rating which makes it a family-friendly flick, The Woman In Black still manages to harness some fear and this is probably not one for the kids.

Doors slam in the dark, empty rocking chairs find their own motion, evil-looking mechanical children’s toys come to life untouched, and of course a woman in black appears in the rooms of the rickety old house.

Director James Watkins has timed a chilling soundtrack with his high-tension scenes, leaving theatregoers jumping in their seats.

“I think the film’s got bite and I think people have been very very scared, we’ve got people coming out of the film saying they’re absolutely terrified,” Watkins said.

“There is no gore, there is no violence, but I don’t think gore and violence are the same as nastiness and necessarily the same as scariness.”

The film’s opening scene in which three young girls leap to their deaths from a top-storey playroom window, sets a dark and shocking tone.

The initial pace is slow, there are long periods of little or no dialogue, but in the tradition of horror films, a little says a lot.

While it’s too soon for Radcliffe to have shaken his wizardry, the young Brit plays a convincing tragic hero, supported by strong and experienced co-stars in Ciaran Hinds and Janet McTeer.

The scenery is suitably dark and misty, lending a heavy feelling to the film, a sense that characters are somehow trapped by their surroundings. And indeed, despite the atrocities they have endured for several years, residents of the small township have not moved away but rather lock up their children in the hope of keeping them safe.