Dark Water  [DVD]
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Supernatural horror film directed by Hideo Nakata, who also directed the hit films 'Ring' and 'Ring 2'. Hitomi Kuroki stars as Yoshimi, a recently-divorced working mother with a history of mental imbalance. Having won the custody battle for her five-year-old daughter, Ikuko (Rio Kanno), she moves with her daughter into a new apartment. But it isn't long before strange occurrences begin: the ceiling leaks incessantly - and when the ghost of a small girl in a yellow dress starts to appear around the place, Yoshimi's already precarious grip on her sanity gives way completely.
Dark Water is Japanese horror auteur Hideo Nakata's return to the genre after his Ring cycle made you too scared to watch television ever again. Where Ring dealt with a supernatural force wreaking revenge via technology, Dark Water is a much more traditional ghost story. After winning a custody battle for her daughter, single mother Yoshimi moves into what she thinks is the perfect apartment with her daughter Hitomi. No sooner have they unpacked than strange things begin to disturb their new life. A water leak from the supposedly abandoned apartment above gets bigger and bigger, a child's satchel reappears even though Yoshimi throws it away several times, and she is haunted by the image of a child wearing a yellow mackintosh who bears a striking resemblance to a young girl who disappeared several years before.
The conventional narrative follows Yoshimi's increasingly desperate attempts to discover who or what force is haunting her daughter, but the story's execution is far from predictable. Nakata is the master of understated suspense: there's always a feeling of motiveless malignancy that runs like an undercurrent through his films--far more frightening than out and out shocks--and here he also practically drowns his audience in water imagery. The film is saturated; the relentless dripping in the apartment, the constant rain outside and the deliberately washed-out photography make any colour, such as the yellow coat, seem incongruous and unsettling. Nakata also clears the film of unnecessary characters--this is an almost deserted Tokyo--preferring to concentrate the action on Yoshimi's rising hysteria as she struggles to understand what is happening and how to save her daughter. Granted, the special effects are somewhat unconvincing and the ending confused, but even so the result is a stylish and disquieting chiller that will do for bathtubs what Ring did for video recorders. --Kristen Bowditch
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
This horror is as far away from the usual gory chopped heads and zombies as possible. Nor this is your average ghost story where a ritual of finding the body and giving it a proper burial solves the problem.
Japanese ghosts are vengeful and mean and there is nothing nice about them. Even if someone was a cute neglected little girl before death.
A young mother goes through an ugly divorce and is forced to move to an old crumbly building with her four year-old daughter. There she discovers strange pools of water appearing regularly, and somehow it is all related to a disappearance of a little girl some time before.
The emotions and tensions grow very gradually until the final episodes with several pretty scary moments and the mother's ultimate solution to her own daughter's protection. It is not a happy ending movie but neither it is an "evil rules forever" story. Somehow it is very Japanese with subtle meanings running parallel to the visible developments of the tale.
It made me thinking beyond the odd 136 min the film lasted about the implications of one's actions and the effect a parental neglect can have on lives of people totally unrelated to the family. Like ripples in the pool of water after something falls in.
From the outset, this has very atmospheric backing music and a suitably eerie tower block, but although the it has some tense opening scenes, soon settles back into a more relaxed mode and Mother and daughter gradually reveal the back story. This isn’t an ‘in your face’ jump out scary movie, although there are some very tense moments, it’s much more about creating an atmosphere of uncertainty. The acting is good, with the young Rio Kanno putting in a fantastic performance considering the range of emotions she portrays.
The single disc offers play, scene selection, set up [2.0 default, 5.1 surround, DTs surround 5.1 and English subtitles on/off] original trailer and Asia Extremes trailers reel. This is a 15 rating that has no nudity, sex or swearing, relying on the atmosphere, sound effects and plot to provide tension throughout. The end sequence is a good touch, but I felt the final few scenes could have been omitted to end it on a high, rather than a seeming anti-climax. Never-the-less, a very good ***** movie the was remade in 2005 and set in the USA.
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!
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm afraid I found this extremely dull. I almost fell asleep and there were no scary parts to it at all. I just wasn't interested enough - not even a jump out of your seat moment. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Echo
One of my favourite j-horror's preferrable to the naomi watt remake. I've read the book too but this remains my favourite version. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mr. C. J. P. Keane
I'd be honest I have seen alot better films but I prefer the head twisting Korean films and that's just my taste, but there is a good story to it and its a good watch. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Elise Kathleen Blake
I thought Dark Water was an excellent, atmospheric film, the suspense and creepiness building into a toe-curling, really scary ending. Read morePublished 15 months ago by AG
While Ringu was a watershed in Hideo Nakata's directing career, and brought Japanese filmmaking to wider western audiences, Dark Water is a masterpiece of maturity. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Daniel Wild
From the moment I began watching this movie I felt apprehensive. It keeps you on the edge throughout. A compelling malevolent force runs through it and grips you. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Momsue