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In many waysDark Waterimproves upon the memorable Japanese film it's based on. The earlier version was directed by Hideo Nakata (whose excellent shockerRinguwas remade in America asThe Ring), but in the hands of director Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) and screenwriter Rafael Yglesias, this psychological horror story gets an intelligent and more chillingly effective overhaul. The story is rooted in themes of love and loss that Yglesias similarly explored in his excellent screenplay for Peter Weir'sFearless, here focusing on young mother Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly) as she endures difficult divorce proceedings and settles into a low-rent apartment in New York's cramped Roosevelt Island community, near Manhattan, with her young daughter Cecilia (Ariel Gade). Amidst seemingly endless rainfall, Dahlia's world slowly unravels, and Connelly is superb as a woman seemingly on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Or is she? Could it be that Cecilia's imaginary friend, and the apartment's persistent leaks of dark, dripping water, are the ghostly manifestations of a young girl who had been abandoned by the previous tenant? Creepy atmosphere and high anxiety are expertly maintained by Salles, and supporting roles for Tim Roth, John C. Reilly and especially Pete Postlethwaite give the film an added edge of mystery. The tension builds slowly (gore-mongers and action fans may be disappointed), but the cumulative effect is palpably unnerving, inviting favorable comparison toRosemary's Baby. Unlike some other remakes of Japanese horror hits,Dark Waterdoesn't feel redundant; it stands on its own thanks to the impressive work of everyone involved.--Jeff Shannon
Great Modern Ghost Story Most viewers will see similarities between this movie and the ring....and those related too it. Like some of the others, it focuses on mother.....be they good or bad. This movie offers a lot more depth than many give it credit for. It could almost be a five star movie except that it does move somewhat slow at some points. Still, overall it doesn't dissapoint.
The story picks up with a young mother who is recently divorced and is battling her ex-husband for custody. In addition to this, she must find a decent job, a suitable school in which to send her daughter, and a place to live. It is the latter where the problem in the story arises.
Connelly's character is forced to take a run down apartment on Roosevelt Island. The movie nearly always has a gloomy setting with seemingly endless rain and shades of gray. The high-rise apartment buildings are so impersonal. As they move in, a dark water stain on the daughter's ceiling is apparent. This grows as the movie progresses as does her daughters belief in her imaginary friend from upstairs.
Water that is indeed often dark plays a big visual role in the movie. It is full of powerful symbols and symbolism. The characters are well developed though some almost go over the edge of being reasonable. But this adds to the charm of the movie. The ending could have been better, but overall it was a well written and entertaining ghost story. I recommend it for the movie and for the many bonus features offered in the DVD.
There's Water Everywhere! Dark Water appears to be a typical Japanese horror-remake, but it actually has a lot more to offer than one might assume. I think the ultimate problem with the film is its marketing. I suppose many believed it was going to be the next Ring or Grudge, and in some ways it is. However in actuality the film is more about marital issues and parenting. This, obviously, will deeply upset audiences expecting a straight horror film.
Now the film does have large amounts of alleged horror elements, but the unfocused script makes it difficult for the viewer to be frightened. Dark Water goes back and forth from attempting to be a family drama to an unsettling psychological picture. The only shade of brilliance in the plot is the theme of the world you live in turning against you. Yet the film is still not able to completely pull this off.
Dark Water tries to throw in cheap scares to live up to the terror it promised to provide, which eventually destroys any effort to make the audience value the premise. Kubrick's The Shining deals with similar elements of not being able to trust your surroundings, but where Dark Water flounders The Shining thrives. The distant atmosphere that Kubrick creates makes that film, but Dark Water tries to incorporate way too many ideas for one picture. The film comes off comical at times as well, and the climax is horribly handled which results in the viewer leaving with an unfulfilling sentiment.
Walter Salles gives some admirable direction that strongly resembles the appearance of The Ring, but he offers no scares. The film's acting is pretty mediocre besides Connelly's performance. She is one of the finest actresses performing right now, and she does her best with what the film gives her. However, the film wastes her unbelievable talent. John C. Reilly and Tim Roth also have minor parts, but they too are not put to any use as well. And finally, Connelly's daughter, played by Ariel Gade, is more annoying than cute.
Overall, Dark Water has some promising moments but drowns in its schizophrenic screenplay.Better than the reviews here will have you believe This movie has received many bad reviews, but to be honest I really enjoyed it despite it being far from perfect. The acting from Jennifer Connelly was brilliant as a mother who is trying to move forward with her life but there are things in the past and present which are preventing that. I felt truly sorry for her, which I think was the director's intention. Let's face it, a movie succeeds if you feel for the key characters. The film is a remake of a Japanese film, and I look forward to seeing that version to compare one day.
As a viewer, I was unsure of what was reality or fantasy at times, but that made the film all the more intriguing for me. I thought the leaking roof was a brilliant storyline (particularly since I had experienced something similar in an apartment many years ago). Overall, the creepiness of the apartment block was well conveyed.
I recommend this movie for those who enjoy the odd creepy film, and for fine acting too.