Jamie Kennedy's favorite movie review site
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
2.79

Awesome: 3.57%
Worth A Look: 26.79%
Just Average: 25%
Pretty Crappy33.93%
Sucks: 10.71%

6 reviews, 20 user ratings



Dark Water (2005)
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Peter Sobczynski

"2 Parts Hydrogen, 1 Part Oxygen, Zero Parts Genuine Creepiness"
3 stars

“Dark Water” is another entry in the seemingly endless parade of Americanized remakes of recent Japanese supernatural horror films. If you have seen any of those films, the sights on display here will seem familiar enough–plenty of forbidding shadows, lots of dripping water, numerous shots of people reacting with horror at the sight of blank-faced children staring menacingly at them and the inevitable point when the Japanese filmmaking approach (which prefers to leave things unexplained) collides with the American (in which everything needs to be explained in excruciating detail so that mall audiences don’t come away having to think things out for themselves) in such a way that everything winds up being over-explained without ever really making a lick of sense.

Based on the 2003 film from Hideo Nakata (who directed the Japanese version of “The Ring” and the American version of “The Ring 2"), “Dark Water” stars Jennifer Connelly as Dahlia, a young woman who is involved in a nasty custody battle with her hateful ex-husband (Dougray Scott) over adorable daughter Cici (Ariel Gade).While trying to find a place to live that is vaguely affordable, Dahlia comes across an apartment complex just over the river from Manhattan that is within her price range that is being pushed by an extra-sleazy agent (John C. Reilly). Sure, there are a few flaws that might send most sensible renters fleeing–the building is fairly run-down and underpopulated, water seems to be dripping everywhere and the building super is an outrageously accented Pete Postlethwaite. Despite those warning signs–not to mention a situation where Cici immediately finds herself drawn edge of the unguarded rooftop–Dahlia takes the apartment.

Almost immediately, Dahlia begins to realize that her problems with her new digs are going to go far beyond getting people to pony up for a Christmas tree in the lobby. An ever-growing water stain begins to appear on her ceiling–it sounds as if the tenants upstairs are running water at all hours but–gasp!–there haven’t been people living up there since that family mysteriously disappeared a while ago. When Dahlia goes up to investigate, she discovers that the apartment is flooded and also thinks that she spots some people out of the corner of her eye. She is reassured that it is just a couple of dumb punks turning on the water but she isn’t too sure. Before long, other circumstances–such as the recurring stain, visions of ghostly apparitions and Cici’s inevitable development of a less-than-nurturing invisible friend lead Dahlia to investigate the secrets of the building and the upstairs apartment.

Basically, the film wants us to think that one of three things is going on: either Dahlia, who has been prone in the past to emotional disorders, is going crazy from the pressures of single motherhood and is imagining everything (the “Repulsion” ending) or her rotter ex-husband is staging everything in order to gain custody of Cici for himself (the “Gaslight” ending) or she is sane and there really are ghosts in the building( the “Shining” ending). In the more ambiguous original, a case could be made for each approach and that made the otherwise familiar goings-on at least momentarily intriguing. Here, Raphael Yglesias’s screenplay does have a definitive answer as to what has happened but never quite figures out a way to incorporate the other possibilities in way that would make them seem like something other than obvious red herrings. On its own, the resolution isn’t very satisfying because it requires a lot of backstory and motivation to be explained at the precise point in the film where stopping the forward momentum only destroys whatever suspension of disbelief viewers might still be feeling towards the film.

Another problem with the film is the simple fact that it isn’t very scary. Although it doesn’t traffic in the old trick of cheaply jolting viewers by having people jump out of the corners ever few seconds, it never quite gets around to finding anything else to inspire chills in its place. The notion of using dripping and filthy water as a symbol for dread and unease sounds intriguing in theory but it doesn’t really pack much of a punch–anyone seeking true plumbing-related terror would be better off to hit the men’s room at Wrigley Field after the seventh-inning stretch. Near the end, it does reach into the old bag of tricks for standard ghostly apparitions but I think whatever fear that could possibly be triggered by the sight of a damp child with stringy hair has long since been exhausted. Frankly, the most frightening thing on display here is the recurring image of a Hello Kitty backpack and that is only because I once dated someone with a bizarre fetish for that merchandising icon and who would go giddy in toy stores over any piece of junk with that beast emblazoned on it–a sight, I assure you, that is far more off-putting than anything you are going to see in the film proper.

Compared to the other recent Japanese-American transplants, “Dark Water” is a little better than the others–certainly it is an improvement over “The Ring 2" or “The Grudge.” Director Walter Salles does a pretty good job of creating a claustrophobic atmosphere of his own in the early scenes even though he doesn’t quite know what to do with it in the later ones. The film also features a strong central performance from Jennifer Connelly in the central role. Using the same logic that led to the casting of Naomi Watts in “The Ring,” the filmmakers have resisted the urge to simply cast a bimbo from the pages of “Maxim” and have instead chosen an actress gifted enough to make a character who seems utterly plausible despite the weirdness surrounding her. Actually, they may have chosen someone too good for their film and it leads to the strangely disconnected sight of watching an actress dedicating herself completely to the service of a movie that never quite demonstrates the same level of commitment.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12566&reviewer=389
originally posted: 07/07/05 23:58:23
[printer] printer-friendly format  
Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell skip it 1 stars
11/25/08 Leo T not bad, love to watch Jennifer Connelly in a wet tshit tho 2 stars
4/15/08 Jack Sommersby Limp, lumbersome and uninvolving to boot. 1 stars
3/30/07 fools♫gold Old-school ghost story, but you can find a better one. 2 stars
12/04/06 Stanley Thai A really good suspense thriller. Connelly gives a great performance. 4 stars
2/17/06 Indrid Cold The acting and direction are great but the story is scattered and unsatisfying. 3 stars
12/30/05 othree Jennifer Connelly = Great! Dark Water = Sucks all bland ass... no really ...zZZ 2 stars
10/27/05 chris not a bad movie 4 stars
10/20/05 PAG Above average. 4 stars
10/10/05 Tom Burns Not very good. Their was no scares what so ever. 2 stars
9/28/05 Stephanie Throckmorton Chaotic! Was Natasha good or evil? What killed Dahlia? Gad! 2 stars
7/27/05 Obi Wan Worst movie I've seen this summer! 1 stars
7/26/05 manuel I was disappointed 2 stars
7/13/05 Pete Bleakly shot, stunning cast and a horrific ending, the way remakes should be - better 5 stars
7/11/05 Obi Wan Worst movie I've seen in mayb last 3-4 years. SUCKED ..BAD!! Can I give a 0? 1 stars
7/11/05 Anne This film was more surprising than scary and some parts of it were HILARIOUS. 2 stars
7/11/05 Caiphn Slow, boring, uninspired. No suspense, no scares. Came very close to leaving. 1 stars
7/10/05 8=====D stupid 1 stars
7/09/05 Kankasaur Induces ripples of laughter rather than goosebumps 3 stars
7/08/05 dan Very creepy movie and jennifer connelly wet... i loved it 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  08-Jul-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 26-Dec-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Oct-2005




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Privacy Policy | | HBS Inc. |   
All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast