Directed by: Walter Salles
Premise: A divorcee (Jennifer Connelly) and her daughter (Ariel Gade) move into a beaten up apartment complex and uncover a mystery involving former tenants of the apartment above them.
What Works: Connelly and Gade do a good job together and sell the parent-child relationship. The sets on the film are really creepy and overall the film has an atmosphere of perversion that is just below the surface of everything. The film takes its time getting going, and lets the various tensions build and grow.
What Doesn’t: These tensions stay relatively level and although they grow, they never fully evolve from a domestic drama and into full-blown horror. As a result, the film plays more like a drama than a horror film. The cinematography is under lit in parts, especially at the end of the film, and the images are difficult to see. The creepy-wet-ghost-child character has been done in quite a few films at this point and is getting old. Like The Ring and The Grudge, Dark Water is a remake of a Japanese film. While this is a better film than those were, the “we’ve-seen-this-before” element is still hanging overhead.
Bottom Line: Dark Water is not a bad film but it’s not a first rate thriller either. The film is worth a look for its characters and its atmosphere. Fans of other American adaptations of these Japanese films should enjoy this film. Fans of actual horror films may be disappointed by Dark Water‘s lack of intensity.
Episode: #59 (July 10, 2005)