Dark Water (2005) Review
Written by: Steve Lewis
A divorced mother and her daughter move into a Manhatten apartment. Everything seems to be going ok until water starts to leak from the apartment above and footsteps noisely trample throughout upstairs. Annoyance becomes suspense when the mystery of what's going on up there gets a hold of the mother's senses and almosts drives her insane and apart from her daughter.
I don't know what it is about J-horror remakes but they do not give me the same thrill as if something else that originated here in the states was remade. For example, 2004's Dawn of the Dead kept me on my toes and interested but films such as The Grudge and The Ring had me dying of horror withdraw. Maybe it's the whole script that the original film follows and is tweaked for U.S. consumption. Who knows exactly. If you know, leave a comment. But Dark Water is a remake of the 2002 Honogurai mizu no soko kara (aka Dark Water) written and directed by Hideo Nakata which involved the same synopsis as this one.
Water. You could not escape it. The whole film was a force of water. Every scene had hard rain and when it wasn't raining, Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly) was standing next to a running river. The director really wanted to push this water theme in your face. Like he wanted you to know that this film is about water. Well, yea, it's called Dark Water. I think it would have been scarier if the film was set out west, in the desert where water is scarce. I would be freaked out if I saw dark water in a dry desert.
Dahlia was pathetic. She took shit from everybody. She took shit from Murray (John Reilly), the union agent, who didn't give her the time of day when she asked him if he could fix the roof. Veeck (Pete Postlethwaite) grunted and snared at her when she asked him and her lawyer (Tim Roth) made up stories so he could do his own thing. She never really stood up for herself until near the end but that was only a mild thrust. Another aspect about Dahlia was that she always had to be early everywhere she goes. A flash back at the beginning of the film reveals that her mother was always late picking her up from school which showed her mother not really caring about the young Dahlia. She made a point early in the film on being always early and when she is held up, she starts freaking out. She'll start having migrains and visions of her youth in which she starts taking certain pills that knocks her our for a few hours to calm her down.
Besides the fact that The Ring and The Grudge are both related to his film but being a J-Horror first, they also have another related quality. They all involve little ghost kids. What the hell is up with that? Anywho, the dark water is the cause of a little girl who, on her own damn fault, drowned in a water tower on the roof of the complex. Well, she was abandoned by her father and mother and neglected Veeck, which in turns makes her a mother seeking ghost in apartment 10F. How? Why? and What the fuck? Nothing is really explained to how her spirit became trapped in the complex. The water just symbolized her demise. The lonely kid drowns by water and then Dahlia who was lonely like the little girl suffered the same fate in exchange for her daughter's life. That's Dahlia's fault because if I know that complex was haunted, my ass would have been out of their in a heartbeat.
On the bright side, and I know my g/f will probably scorn me for this, I still think Jennifer Connelly is hot. "Especially wet" says the EB Games sales clerk. I've always liked Connelly as an actress but her roles have definitely matured since her Labyrinth and Career Opportunities days. The overall cast just amazed me because they are all really good actors. John C. Reilly (Boogie Nights), Pete Postlethwaite (The Lost World: Jurassic Park), and Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs) really have chemistry there. It was just the plot and the direction of Walter Salles (Central Station) just lacked heart. The near end was the only suspensful part when the little girl ghost was trying to drown Dahlia's daughter. Fucking water is really dangerous in this film because nothing else is used to kill anybody else and I can see why it's PG-13 but I don't know why it got an Unrated cut, do you?
Rent but don't buy unless you're a horror or Connelly fanatic. The audio is great for surround sound and the picture quality is superb. And remember there is a lesson in this film. Do not neglect your children because they will haunt you, or anyone, who lives in the housing they died in.