Ruthlessly murdered by her father, the ghost of a seer's daughter kills all those seven days after they watch the strange contents of a mysterious video tape, unless the viewer finds the escape clause.
After winning a custody battle for her daughter, Yoshimi tries to make a new start. The apartment she moves into seems perfect at first. Soon though, strange things begin happening. Huge water stains appear on the ceiling and drip constantly, more liquid oozing into the rooms every day. She calls the landlord in but he refuses to do anything about it. A child's red bag shows up in odd places and soon the child herself starts appearing. Yoshimi then discovers the origin of the ghost... Written by
Second film by Hideo Nakata to be based on a novel by Koji Suzuki. He previously directed Ring (1998) and its sequel Ring 2 (1999). See more »
(at around 1h 3 mins) When everyone is up on the roof examining the water tower, a flap of cloth or pant leg can be seen at the top of the ladder. This could be something attached to the tower, but later when she climbs it by herself and we see the whole thing, no such cloth is visible. See more »
My theory of why I responded so strongly with Dark Water is that it's about people that you can relate to. It isn't about a cop who searches for the serial killer leaving cryptic puzzles, nor a lawyer who defends a crazy murderer who may not be the real killer, etc. It's about a single mother who's on the verge of losing one thing she cares for the most - her daughter.
She has to go for job interviews, she has to find a place to live with little money, and she has to see a divorce lawyer to fend off her rather nasty (yet not unreasonable) husband. Life's tough for Yoshimi, and who could not identify with her? I certainly did, and maybe it's the main reason why the movie worked on me so well.
I sympathised her character and her predicament. I cared for her choice. I kept thinking, 'God, please give this poor woman a break.', but as every good movie must, problems keep piling up on her already over-burdened shoulder, and the ghost haunting that old, damp apartment doesn't help her situation.
As many other reviewers mentioned, this is not all that scary. If you are looking for pure Asian horror to scare you s***less, this isn't it. But on some level it worked on me better than, say, Grudge, because the characters inhabit this picture felt real. Natural performances from the little girl were just amazing (except a couple of spots where her acting was just little off), but overall I totally bought her character.
When she says she needs no one but her mother, I felt a tingle of sensation in my eyes - I wanted them to be together as their love seemed so real. Hitomi Kuroki, playing the motehr, nicely underplays her role - she is polite and tries so hard to pull her life together against overwhelming odds. She is the center of this picture in every single sense.
Also consider the characters in Dark Water, they are all firmly grounded on reality. The divorce lawyer for example, when she tells him that she sees a ghost, he calmly examines the apartment and offers the most reasonable advice that any lawyer would give. Even the husband, while nasty, never oversteps the line of a villain. He after all does care for the welfare of the little girl, and concerns that she sometimes doesn't pick up the child in time.
This is a sad, tragic drama that deals with the souls of the children abandoned and lost by their parents. When that yellow flashback plays on the screen, I felt more pity than horror, so much so the last scene where Yoshimi held up that dead child, maybe it all made sense.
Ending perhaps was little weak - maybe because I cared so much about Yoshimi and her daughter, I just wanted them to be happy and together. Not like this. All great movies regardless their genre constructs human drama as its core. While this may not be a great movie, but a damned fine human drama with a streak of horror this is.
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