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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eagerly anticipated
Hideo Nakato (Ring series) is a genius who manages to make proper sinister spooky horror that doesn't rely on gore or jump moments. His tools are music, lighting and long camera shots down dark corridors, and all give the sense that *this* creeping evil is particularly malevolent. Its classic horror that plays on primordial human fear.
The story centres around a...
Published on 3 Oct 2003 by J C DeCesare

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite moving but not so scary
Like most people, I watched this because of the standards set by the Ringu series (the original Japanese films as I haven't watched the US version yet). People will note several similarities with the Ringu story (centred on a mother/child relationship, a malevolent spirit in the form of a young girl, water) but I think Dark Water plays more on the mental damage caused by...
Published on 9 May 2005


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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eagerly anticipated, 3 Oct 2003
By 
J C DeCesare (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Water [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
Hideo Nakato (Ring series) is a genius who manages to make proper sinister spooky horror that doesn't rely on gore or jump moments. His tools are music, lighting and long camera shots down dark corridors, and all give the sense that *this* creeping evil is particularly malevolent. Its classic horror that plays on primordial human fear.
The story centres around a mother struggling to make a new life for herself and her daughter amidst a messy divorce. The strangeness begins when they move to a new part of the city, a new school and a new apartment with a perpetually leaky ceiling! I won't give any more of the story away than that, suffice to say I couldn't walk past so much as a puddle after viewing it without wanting to run screaming down dark ill advised alleyways.
If you enjoyed Ring you most certainly won't be disappointed by this. A definite must.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars saw it in the cinema pre-release....WHOAH!!!, 25 Nov 2005
This review is from: Dark Water [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
this was the first Japanese horror film i ever saw...
i've noticed since, with films such as Ring (and the sequal and prequal)that the Japanese generally do horror VERY differently to the west...nowhere is it more apparrent than this masterpiece.
where western horror movies rely on "orgasm entertainment" and in-your-face frights, Dark Water builds the tension very slowly, with the ominous reappearing figure, the schoolbag, and the water tank, all building a tense, confused apprehension throughout the film, and the last 30-40 minutes are probably the most terrifying i've ever seen. ever.
if you like the edge of your seat to be well-worn and slightly stained, this movie is DEFINATELY for you.
i would reccomend to to anyone, especially people who "don't like horror movies"
they've remade it in American now. Taking the disgusting slop that was "The Ring" i'm not going to waste my time with it.
sacreliege, if you ask me!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instant creepiness - just add water!, 29 May 2004
By 
Ruth Ludlam "princess_zelda" (Bracknell, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Water [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
Nakata (mastermind behind the highly popular Ring films) returns to Japanese cinema screens with this, his eagerly awaited follow-up. Many people in the West have felt hugely let down by it, sadly. I warn you, it has none of the atmosphere of Ring: the gut-wreching terror of those films' set pieces like Sadako crawling up the inside of the well etc. is missing. Until the last ten minutes you will not see anything that will make you very scared. But asking to be scared in the same way as in Ring would be to miss the point of Nakata's slow build-up of eerieness and the way he messes with your understanding of reality.
The central character is a divorced woman who is trying to prove that she is a fit mother for her child. The film heartbreakingly portrays her sadness and frustration when she comes to realise that being a loving parent doesn't necessarily make you a good one. She is also rather disturbed, and Nakata plays around with reality by showing things almost entirely from her perspective,
so you find it difficult to tell when things are actually scary and when she's just overreacting. She screams a lot and there is much sinister music, but you will sometimes find it hard to work out what's scary... at least for the first part of the film. The other characters give welcome relief, and there is a deliberate anti-climactic effect when you see things through their eyes, because everything is normal. The leak in the roof is just caused by a tap left on in the apartment above, and they even discuss how long it has been adding to the residents' water bill. This comically undermines all of the tension that has so far been built up, and the viewer ends up suspecting that it really is all in her head. Even her daughter doesn't seem to find anything scary about the schoolbag. Dark Water plays with your expectations of horror, and proves that terror is all in the mind.
Yes, the remeniscences of Ring are very strong indeed. But that's how Japanese sequels usually work - they continue the same theme instead of the same characters from the original. Nakata knows the whole of Japan has seen Ring and internalised it and so he's not trying to rip himself off. He is, however, creating a ghostly echo of Ring within Dark Water to evoke creepy half-memories in his audience.
Finally, I myself find this a very interesting film. It is not shocking or scary in the way that conventional horror is, but it makes my skin crawl in a way no other film has ever done. There is very little seen or spoken that is actually frightening but nonetheless it is a very chilling film indeed if you read between the scenes.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nightmares revisited, 15 Mar 2004
This review is from: Dark Water [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
Have to agree with most reviews here - the best horror right now is coming from the far east; dark, disturbing & intelligent psycohlogical horror stories with a downbeat ending (Im a sucker for unhappy endings!). I made the mistake of watching this alone one night whilst my wife was at work, and have not been this unnerved by a film since I was about 14 (29 now) & saw the original evil dead. In fact thats probably the last time I had a nightmare after watching a horror film - until I saw this corker! Woke up at 4am in a cold sweat...not good. And no - I don't scare easily. IMHO more unsettling than ringu (though thoroughly enjoyed that film too, although the remake was a complete bastardisation - even thought the american version was going to cop out at one stage & drop the original ending for a cute & cuddly finish); my only complaint is charecter development of the missing girl - eg how her life ended at the place it did, and why she was so malevolent towards the protagonist compared with simply tragic? Saying that - I've only seen the film once so the clues may be in there..really do need to see it again. Thoroughly recommended.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating, 3 Oct 2003
By 
Josh MacNab (Tunbridge wells, Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Water [VHS] [2003] (VHS Tape)
This film is one of the best films (not just horror) to have come out of Japan. It is directed by Ring master, no not Sauron but Hideo Nakada and the author of Ring, Koji Suzuki. Both men combine (again) to produce a brilliant film. There are inevitably Ring influences but seeing how good that movie is, is that a bad thing? No, I think not. Have you not seen the film then here's a quick synopsis. Unfit Mother Yoshimi (she goes to the same school of bad parenting as Reiko!) fights for custody of her only child Ikuko, she moves in old apartment where there's a leak, things start to go funny as leak gets bigger plus there's an omnipresent red bag that keeps popping up. Ghost of a little girl starts appearing and making Ikuko isolate herself from friends and more importantly her Mother. Things get to a head and the ending has tearjerker all over it. Guys were in tears at the cinema it really does break your Heart. This adds evidence (as if we needed any more) to the debate that Japanese films are more emotionally binding with the viewer than pretentious American rubbish ever can be. One not to miss.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite moving but not so scary, 9 May 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Dark Water [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
Like most people, I watched this because of the standards set by the Ringu series (the original Japanese films as I haven't watched the US version yet). People will note several similarities with the Ringu story (centred on a mother/child relationship, a malevolent spirit in the form of a young girl, water) but I think Dark Water plays more on the mental damage caused by humans rather than a supernatural presence.
The story is of a mother and daughter who are forced by circumstance (of a nasty divorce including a custody battle over the daughter) to move into a rundown apartment building. Some of the mother's own background is revealed through flashbacks and facts revealed during the custody battle process which explains her more fragile mental state. Bizarre and disturbing things start to happen, mostly in the apartment building, and the mother is increasingly under pressure to protect her daughter from a menancing presence while still trying to maintain some semblance of sanity in order to retain custody of her daughter.
The film builds up quite slowly and the story behind the ghostly presence seems obvious quite early on in the film but the climax is still very watchable and although I found the ending confusing at first, after some thought, I found the implications as moving and disturbing as Sadako's fate in Ringu. The rather grey backdops in the film and the lack of people add to the feeling of isolation and fear. I would not put this film on a par with Ringu in terms of scare value but I certainly think it is worth a look - there is a very human story in there with the ghosts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghostly matter..., 24 Mar 2012
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Water [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
I was given this a birthday present and have just watched it for the first time. Straight away I've got to say there isn't much wrong with it. Its well acted and directed, not too long, atmospheric and keeps you guessing right to near the end.

But despite the advertising blurb, and maybe one scene this is really not a horror film. Its a ghost story, and theres nothing wrong with that. As mentioned by Amazon, its influences (Don't Look Now and The Shining) are fairly clear to see, but credit where credit is due, it has enough originality of its own.

Hopefully there won't or hasn't been a trite US remake, because rest assured it won't be as good as this.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how it's done, 15 Dec 2003
By 
Petrides Antonis (Nicosia, Cyprus) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Water [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
It's official. No one can tell a ghost story better than the Japanese, and no Japanese better than Hideo Nakata. "Dark Water" bears the trademarks of Nakata's art: understated, suggestive, subliminal, gentle, profound. Nakata's films are not just ghost stories: they are stories of loss, abandonment, abuse, loveless lives and loneliness. The atmosphere of "Dark Water" is a cross between the "Ring" and Miike Takashi's "Audition". One viewer has declared himself baffled by the end of the story: to me it made perfect sense... The link with "Don't Look Now" does not go much deeper than the figure of the girl. Nakata is a master. Recommended point blanc.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Running deep, 23 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Dark Water [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
One of the things that I found surprising about Dark Water was how moving it was. This isn't a shock-a-minute horror movie, this is a ghost story for grown ups. Certainly, there are some pretty freaky moments along the way, but the real horror here only becomes apparent by the end. As with the Ring movies, the real meat of the fear is less in the set pieces and more in the implications of them. It could be convincingly argued that Dark Water is not so much about a ghost, but about a woman gradually coming to terms with the fact that she is an unsuitable mother. The ghost aspect, like The Turn Of The Screw, is ambiguous, there is a possibility that there is no ghost at all, and that the mother's neuroses are affecting her child, but it doesn't matter, as either way, this is a very creepy, unsettling film, the conclusion of which is vitally important, and heartbreaking.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So much water everywhere..., 29 April 2004
This review is from: Dark Water [2003] [DVD] (DVD)
Yet another psycologically impressive horror flick from the orient...
This is not as good as Audition, but that is a hard benchmark to achieveall the time, however, it is an extremely intelligent and watchable (frombehind the door perhaps) film.
A ghost story about a mother, going through the throws of a bitterdivorce, and her young girl; they move into a slightly run-down apartment,which seems to have problems with its plumbing.
The ceiling starts to leak from the apartment above and gradually getsworse.
The whole problem seems to be coming from a watertank on the roof of theapartment block, where it seems that tragically a young girl, some whileback had drowned in. The girl was wearing a yellow ran coat and haddropped her red back pack, whilst climbing up the ladder of the tank.
These instances are cleverly and somewhat menaceingly intertwined into anotherwise fairly mundane storyline.
The ending is scary and sad and leaves the viewer with lots of unansweredquestions, which I am sure the director manufactured deliberately.
The camera movement, angles and work generally create a creepy feel tothis movie as does the desertedness of the Tokyo environment, the acrimonybetween the wife and husband and the yellow coat against the dullness ofcolour in general.
I reccommend this movie...
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Dark Water [2003] [DVD]
Dark Water [2003] [DVD] by Hideo Nakata (DVD - 2003)
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