6.7/10
25,972
161 user 121 critic

Dark Water (2002)

Honogurai mizu no soko kara (original title)
A mother and her 6 year old daughter move into a creepy apartment whose every surface is permeated by water.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
6 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A mysterious and vengeful spirit marks and pursues anybody who dares enter the house in which it resides.

Director: Takashi Shimizu
Stars: Megumi Okina, Misaki Itô, Misa Uehara
Ringu (1998)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A reporter and her ex-husband investigate a cursed video tape that is rumored to kill the viewer seven days after watching it.

Director: Hideo Nakata
Stars: Nanako Matsushima, Miki Nakatani, Yûko Takeuchi
Gin gwai (2002)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A blind girl gets a cornea transplant so that she would be able to see again. However, she got more than what she bargained for when she realized she could even see ghosts.

Directors: Danny Pang, Oxide Chun Pang
Stars: Angelica Lee, Chutcha Rujinanon, Lawrence Chou
Shutter II (2004)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young photographer and his girlfriend discover mysterious shadows in their photographs after a tragic accident. They soon learn that you can not escape your past.

Directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom
Stars: Ananda Everingham, Natthaweeranuch Thongmee, Achita Sikamana
Kairo (2001)
Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Two groups of people discover evidence that suggests spirits may be trying to invade the human world through the Internet.

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Stars: Haruhiko Katô, Kumiko Asô, Koyuki
Dark Water (2005)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A mother and daughter, still wounded from a bitter custody dispute, hole up in a run-down apartment building. Adding further drama to their plight, they are targeted by the ghost of former resident.

Director: Walter Salles
Stars: Jennifer Connelly, Ariel Gade, John C. Reilly
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

People mysteriously start receiving voicemail messages from their future selves, in the form of the sound of them reacting to their own violent deaths.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Ko Shibasaki, Shin'ichi Tsutsumi, Kazue Fukiishi
Ju-on 2 (2003)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

As their curse spreads on all around, the ghosts find their chance to live once again through the pregnancy of a cursed woman.

Director: Takashi Shimizu
Stars: Noriko Sakai, Chiharu Niiyama, Kei Horie
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A family is haunted by the tragedies of deaths within the family.

Director: Jee-woon Kim
Stars: Kap-su Kim, Jung-ah Yum, Soo-jung Lim
Ringu 2 (1999)
Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Reiko takes Yoichi into hiding when her son begins to display frightening powers. Meanwhile, Mai Takano and the authorities begin a desperate search for them, as the mysterious Ring curse spreads...

Director: Hideo Nakata
Stars: Miki Nakatani, Hitomi Satô, Kyoko Fukada
Ju-on (Video 2000)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A teacher visits the house of one of his students after the boy goes missing, only to have a horrifying excuse for his absence from school.

Director: Takashi Shimizu
Stars: Yûrei Yanagi, Yue, Ryôta Koyama
Audition (1999)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all.

Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hitomi Kuroki ...
Rio Kanno ...
Mirei Oguchi ...
Asami Mizukawa ...
Fumiyo Kohinata ...
Kunio Hamada
Yu Tokui ...
Isao Yatsu ...
Shigemitsu Ogi ...
Kishida (Yoshimi's lawyer)
Maiko Asano ...
Yukiko Ikari ...
Shinji Nomura ...
Kiriko Shimizu ...
Teruko Hanahara ...
Old Lady (twin, elder)
Youko Yasuda ...
Old Lady (twin, younger)
Shichirou Gou ...
Nishioka
Edit

Storyline

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 kwedgwood@hotmail.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From The Creators of Japan's Acclaimed RINGU, Inspiration for the hit phenomenon THE RING


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for terror and disturbing situations | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 January 2002 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Dark Water  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£34,978 (UK) (8 June 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

(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 »

Connections

Referenced in Naina (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The message? Don't be late to pick your child up from school
25 April 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Yoshimi Matsubara (Hitomi Kuroki) is in the middle of a nasty divorce from her husband, Kunio Hamada (Fumiyo Kohinata). The biggest issue of contention is their daughter, Ikuko (Rio Kanno). Kunio accuses Yoshimi of being unstable, and he seems to have a point. Still, Yoshimi is awarded at least temporary custody of Ikuko. We see her finding an apartment for her and Ikuko to live in. They pick a less-than-ideal apartment, because it is affordable. Soon after, strange occurrences begin. Yoshimi's bedroom ceiling is developing a water stain. Mysterious puddles of water appear in different locations. An unusual item keeps appearing, despite attempts to discard it. Yoshimi periodically sees a strange girl, but only in glimpses. Ikuko begins acting oddly. On top of all this, Yoshimi is trying to go back to work, and she's having trouble balancing that with taking care of Ikuko. Things are spiraling out of control. Are the problems due to Yoshimi's divorce, or is there also something more sinister or supernatural going on?

Despite Dark Water's relatively overt similarities to a number of other filmic works, this is one of director Hideo Nakata's most successful films--at least as good as his famed Ringu (1998), if not better. I came awfully close to giving Dark Water a 10 out of 10, and can easily see myself raising my score on subsequent viewings. Many facets of the film do not open up until you see them again. For example, when fact checking something about the film shortly before writing this review, I re-watched the beginning; the opening credits are extremely eerie, but the full impact doesn't hit you until after you've seen the film once and more fully realize what you're looking at while watching the first shot.

The similarities include quite a few thematic resemblances to Ringu, which shouldn't be surprising considering that not only is Nakata the director for both films, they are both based on novels by the man who is often called "The Japanese Stephen King", at least in the Japanese press--Koji Suzuki.

Like Ringu, Dark Water's menace comes in the form of a young, long haired Japanese girl who makes frequent, mysterious appearances. Girls may be the focus because of irony--they're supposed to be cute (as is Kanno, who turns in a great performance along with her more adult fellow cast) and innocent. A girl menace should therefore be that much more unnerving.

The menace is often accompanied by water. Water was important symbolism in Ringu, too. I would venture a guess that Nakata and/or Suzuki have a fear of water. It might be more impersonal, too. Water is a powerful force, both easily adapting to its surroundings and easily molding them. It permeates much of the world. As such, it's a good visual symbol for kami, which is the Shinto "essence" or "beingness" that permeates everything, and (among many other things) can be godlike, or the soul of a dead human, or tsumi, a "pollution" form of kami which could perhaps be also at least symbolically cleansed by water.

Another important symbolic commonality shared by both Ringu and Dark Water is that of claustrophobic spaces. These occur in Ringu in forms like the well, closets and crawl spaces. Dark Water has the elevator and a structure for which you'll only realize the importance near the end of the film. Water combined with the elevator also enables Nakata to give a nice nod to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980) in one scene.

A further similarity to Ringu is that Dark Water is just as concerned with familial problems as it is concerned with horror. In fact, the horror may only be symbolic or may only be a metaphor for familial problems (in the Ringu/Ring films, this is made even more clear in Nakata's latest, American Ring film--The Ring Two, 2005). Both feature a young mother struggling to maintain a normal existence with her only child. In Dark Water, it is particularly easy to see the horror elements as mere metaphors for Yoshimi's psychological decline and the effects it has on her daughter, which echo her own problematic childhood--we learn that her parents were also divorced when she was young, and the opening dramatic scene of the film shows Yoshimi as a child, waiting at school for someone to pick her up. We also hear her comment that her mother was "bad".

This is not to say that Dark Water has no focus on horror. Nakata's well known deliberate pacing is perfect here. The spooky events are subtle but unnerving, and Nakata achieves some amazing build-ups, such as the scene in the elevator near the end of the film, with a particularly frightening reveal. This reveal works as well as it does because Nakata takes so long to get there. He builds tension through stretching out pregnant pauses until the viewer is ready to burst. There are many such scenes throughout the film.

Dark Water also succeeds because the story is kept relatively simple and straightforward. Unlike typical American films, much of the story is "told" through implication. As a viewer, you are frequently left to figure out decisions and events based on seemingly innocuous comments in an antecedent scene followed by relationship and scenario changes in a following scene. In other words, you have to make assumptions about what has happened. That might sound complex, but the aim, which is wonderfully achieved, is actually to simplify the events on screen. Although that famous Asian horror film dream logic is still present in the supernatural events, it doesn't usurp the plot, which continues to gradually hone in on and build up the tension between Yoshimi, her husband, Ikuko, the mystery girl, and the apartment complex. The ending, which comments on all of those elements and the profound ways that they've changed, is particularly uncanny and poignant.


77 of 88 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?