Dark Water (2002) Poster

(2002)

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7/10
Very creepy
MartinHafer25 October 2013
When I began watching "Dark Water" I was surprised to see that the film was dubbed into English. In recent years, dubbing has nearly died out and subtitles have reigned supreme, so I was surprised. However much I dislike dubbing, however, the quality of this dub was actually pretty good.

The story begins with a mother and her young daughter going through a divorce. Her husband is fighting her for custody, so the woman feels a lot of pressure to get a job and an apartment. While she is able to do both, the pressure only gets worse as the apartment building appears to be haunted by the spirit of some creepy child. And, thought the course of the film, this creepy kid seems to be calling out to the mother and her girl. What's next? See the film.

While many of the story elements are very familiar if you've seen more than a few Japanese horror films, they are assembled quite well. Plus, most importantly, the mood is excellent--with creepy music and effective direction and editing to create the proper mood. Well worth seeing.
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9/10
You'll never look at a damp patch in the same way
Leofwine_draca17 January 2011
Another exceptional ghost story from Japan. The set-up on this one's familiar: a lonely mother, her precocious child, a creepy run-down apartment block haunted by the ghost of a little dark-haired girl. So far, so par for the course. Where the film excels is in two places: script and direction. The script delivers an ultimately moving, affecting story peopled by realistic characters we get to know and care about. Sure, there are no jump-in-your-seat moments as in some other Japanese ghost films, but they're not required; by the end, the film has turned into nothing less than a tragedy, and the horror is driven to the background.

The direction is sublime (you'd expect as much, given that RING's Hideo Nakata is the man behind the lens). The dripping patch on the ceiling becomes monstrous in itself, and the atmosphere is palpable in every sequence. I loved the way that obvious scenes aren't shown, they don't need to be shown, the focus is on mood instead. Hollywood managed a decent remake of this, but even that had to show obvious stuff that wasn't required. Add in a cast giving top-notch performances and you have one of the finest the genre has to offer.
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7/10
Tense Low-Paced Horror Movie
claudio_carvalho6 November 2005
The reviser Yoshimi Matsubara (Hitomi Kuroki) has just divorced from her husband and is disputing the custody of their five years old daughter Ikuko Matsubara (Rio Kano) in the justice. She is looking for an apartment and a job to restart her life alone with Ikuko. She finds a small old apartment, and she does not pay attention to a stain of water on the ceiling. When she moves to the apartment, she notes that there is a drip of water in the bedroom, and she asks the landlord to repair the leakage. Meanwhile, Ikuko finds a red bag on the terrace, and Yoshimi returns it to the administrator. Yoshimi sees the creepy shape of a girl wearing a yellow coat, and she finds that she resembles a young girl that has been missing for two years in the neighborhood. She becomes afraid that the girl might be a ghost.

"Honogurai Mizu no Soko Kara" is a tense low-paced horror movie, with a frightening and original story. The characters and the situation are slowly developed, the climax is scary, but I did not like the conclusion. I was really a little disappointed, since I expected much more. However, this film is another great Japanese horror movie, the best producers of this genre in the present days. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Dark Water – Água Negra" ("Dark Water – Black Water")
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A very effective ghost story that actually delivers chills in place of gore
bob the moo18 June 2003
In the middle of a difficult custody battle over her 6 year old daughter with her ex husband, Yoshimi Matsubara takes a flat in an old building in order to get some stability in their lives. However the problems start with a constant and spreading leak in the ceiling of their flat and the sense of someone else being around the building. Yoshimi becomes increasingly on edge when Ikuko appears to be effected.

Setting out my stall from the start I really liked Ringu and was happy to see this film from the same director. I knew nothing about it when I sat in the cinema and I think that is the best way to see it (although my plot synopsis about will have spoilt nothing). Dark Water continues Nakata's ability of unsettling audiences with little devices. Here he stays with the child theme from Ringu and it works very well despite being a much simpler plot that isn't anywhere near as clever as the other film. However in terms of delivering scares Nakata builds with shadowy images and creeping effects – the spread of the leak across the ceiling is creepy and the reoccurring image of a child's pink bag becomes increasingly unnerving as the film progresses.

The direction is strong throughout with the camera preferring to turn to see what the characters see rather than having something leap into view or simply be cut to – this turning movement can take seconds where our tension is build by being kept waiting. Again the use of shadowy figures and fleeting glimpses of things is very creepy and it really worked for me much better than all the gore in the world. It is a little ironic that one of the biggest jumps from the audience came from the film's one use of CGI effects, but this worked well simply due to the build up of suspense all the way through.

To compliment this the film uses music and sound very well. On the odd occasional it does the tradition thing where the music builds to up the tension, this works but is not unusual. What works better is the use of music WHEN the creeps arrive! Whenever Yoshimi looks at the leak the music gives it an unnerving quality that may not have existed with the shot alone. The simple plot makes for an effective little ghost story – there is an element of mystery here but it is more about the suspense than the history. This is OK but the ending is a little more predictable than I would have liked (at first glance) and the epilogue didn't really work for me and I felt it needed a stronger close (not necessarily a jump though). I say `at first glance' because it appears predictable but really it changes where I thought the film was going and the whole basis for the creepy scenes – ie I had assumed that the girl was taking Ikuko for play etc – I'll say no more but you'll understand when you see it.

The cast were good. My friend said that Kuroki's Yoshimi was so sappy she wanted to slap her but I actually thought she played it well. She convinced me she was a woman going through an emotionally challenging time and was being pushed. There was an element of her overplaying (maybe? It could be taken as realism) the fear in order to heighten the audience's but really this was benefical to the film as a whole. Kanno's Ikuko is excellent – I can't imagine a child I know being able to cope with that sort of filming but she does it very well and is a million miles from the annoying brats that Western films seem to dig up when required. These two are excellent and have reasonable support characters but the real star is a character you only really glimpse and the creepy atmosphere created by Nakata.

Overall anyone who saw the remake of Ringu (and it was No1 for a while) should ignore the subtitles and go and see this. It lacks the depth of Ringu and the epilogue's search for a greater significance is a little plodding and out of place, but it is still an effective ghost story that is a painfully slow at times but only serves to make it genuinely unnerving and creepy throughout.
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7/10
The Creepy Japanese Original
gavin694229 October 2016
A mother (Hitomi Kuroki) and her 6 year old daughter (Rio Kanno) move into a creepy apartment whose every surface is permeated by water.

Director Hideo Nakata had been working in the horror film business for many years and had achieved international success thanks to "Ring" (1998) and "Ring 2" (1999). With "Dark Water", it seems as though the American remake gained more traction; at least, it was the one more readily available in my neck of the woods.

Thanks to Arrow Video, the film is back in all its glory. We have some genuinely creepy water effects, as well as a dark, unsettling atmosphere created by an old, prison-like apartment and the endless downfall of rain that makes Seattle look like a desert. Exactly what the connection is between water and Japanese horror is unclear to me (think the shower in "Grudge" or the well in "Ring") but it is pushed to its limits in this film. Though, as I recall, it may have been pushed even more in the remake (but less effectively -- sometimes less is more).

The plot could be a bit tighter. There are flashbacks that serve little purpose, and an unnecessary epilogue that adds about ten minutes of running time and really nothing else. But overall, the horror elements balance very nicely with the mystery aspect: where is the missing girl who used to live nearby? Mix in more than a dab of psychological horror to the supernatural, and you might be left wondering how much is in our heads. "Dark Water" is a well-measured recipe of success.

The Blu-ray from Arrow Video is packed, simply packed! Leading the way is a new 30-minute interview with Hideo Nakata, where he discusses "The Ring", "Dark Water" and more. There are a few other in-depth interviews, and even some audition footage to give audiences a look of how casting was accomplished. The only thing really missing is an audio commentary, but for obvious reasons one could not be produced for an English-speaking audience. And my only issue with this release is that the subtitles are white rather than yellow, which makes them difficult to read in certain scenes. But, that being said, it is still an overall winner.
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8/10
So how would you say that it compares to the American version?
lee_eisenberg2 January 2006
I was a little surprised when I found out that this summer's "Dark Water" was a remake of a Japanese movie. From the director of "Ringu" (remade as "The Ring"), "Honogurai mizu no soko kara" has recently divorced Yoshimo Matsubara (Hitomi Kuroki) and her daughter Ikuko (Rio Kanno) moving into an apartment that carries a deadly secret.

Obviously, there are likely to be complaints about the American remake. I thought that the remake was well-done, but I do have to side with the original. It gives one a sense of claustrophobia and descent into madness and desperation. We may have never thought that Japan could do horror, but this one and "The Grudge" disprove that. Very well-done.
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9/10
Dark Water
Tweekums18 November 2018
This Japanese chiller is centred of Yoshimi Matsubara and her young daughter Ikuko. Yoshimi is in the process of divorcing her husband and they are caught up in a bitter custody battle. Needing somewhere to stay they move into a flat in an old apartment block. She soon complains about water dripping through the ceiling but nothing is done and it starts to get worse. Slightly creepy things soon start to happen; Ikuko finds a child's bag on the roof; it is handed in and later thrown away... then it reappears on the roof. There is also the local mystery of a young girl who vanished two years previously. As the story progresses the custody battle gets increasingly unpleasant and the sense that something is wrong in the apartment grows.

If you like horror films with plenty of jump scares and gory deaths then this probably won't appeal to you; 'Dark Water' is all about atmosphere and director Hideo Nakata knows all about how to create a disturbing atmosphere. Things start out normally enough with much of the early part of the film feeling more like a social realism drama than a horror film. There are early hints that something isn't right though; mostly involving water where it shouldn't be. The building adds to the creepiness as it is a fairly normal, if rundown, apartment block rather than a really old building. As the film approaches its conclusion the creepiness increases to a point where I could feel myself getting goose-bumps. Hitomi Kuroki does a fine job as Yoshimi, she makes the character feel like a real mother trying to cope with a difficult situation rather than a typical 'horror heroine'. Young Rio Kanno also impresses as Ikuko; a real child rather than the precocious brats that tend to feature in western films. Overall I'd say this is a must see for fans of J-horror and well worth watching if you want a good chiller.

These comments are based on watching the film in Japanese with English subtitles.
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6/10
Delivers subtle chills rather than outright thrills.
BA_Harrison28 February 2012
Divorcée Yoshimi Matsubara (Hitomi Kuroki) and her young daughter Ikuko (Rio Kanno) move into a run-down apartment block where they are haunted by the ghost of Mitsuko Kawai, an emotionally troubled little girl whose body has remained undiscovered since she accidentally drowned in the building's water storage tank two years earlier.

Those who watch Hideo Nakata's Dark Water expecting a real fright-fest might be rather disappointed: it's a slow burner of a film that delivers a relentlessly brooding atmosphere, one of death and decay, but which is surprisingly short on nerve-jangling scares (unless, of course, you're freaked out by dripping water, red schoolbags, or six year old girls, in which case you'll be scared s**tless).

Indeed, for most of the running time, Yoshimi or Ikuko never actually appear to be in any real danger from the film's restless spirit, their problems arising from far less ethereal sources, and it is only in the films closing moments that it becomes apparent that Mitsuko means to do Ikuko harm (so that she can claim Yoshimi as a surrogate mother) and the real horror begins.

Although Nakata's direction is a little too languid in style for my taste, it is technically accomplished, with innovative camera-work and stunning cinematography throughout, and the cast give excellent performances; it might not have left me with the serious case of the jitters I had hoped for, but I had a reasonable enough time with Dark Water, and certainly recommend it over the dreary remake.
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3/10
You might be soundly asleep well before the movie picks up its pace...
paul_haakonsen24 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
"Honogurai mizu no soko kara" (aka "Dark Water") is by no means a milestone in the Japanese horror cinema. Actually it sort of it a drag - literally.

The storyline in "Dark Water" is so unfathomably slow paced and it takes director Hideo Nakata forever to tell virtually such a simplistic storyline that it is amazing that four screenplay writers - Takashige Ichise, Ken'ichi Suzuki, Yoshihiro Nakamura and the director himself Hideo Nakata - managed to come up with absolutely nothing in terms of a proper storyline or script that would prove to be entertaining or at least scary. No, instead they came up with a snoozefest of epic proportions.

I managed to sit through "Dark Water" again in 2019, for the second time since its release in 2002. I can't recall the movie, aside from it being about a family moving in to an apartment complex in which a little girl drowned. That is all I remember from back in the mid-2000s when I watched it the first time. I must admit that my memories were positive about the movie, and they were horribly shattered by the snoozefest that actually is "Dark Water". I managed to sit through this ordeal once again in 2019, and I know for a fact that I will never return to watch it again.

It should be said that the acting in the movie was adequate, despite the performers having next to nothing to work with in terms of script, storyline and plot. But they could do only so much to salvage this movie.

As for the ending of the movie, then it really felt like the collective minds of all four writers had struck a wall and they were bared of all creative ideas and input. Then someone just pulled a random thought from way, way back, and they opted to go with that. The ending to the movie was so ludicrous and horribly bad that it was an insult to all who managed to endure sitting through the ordeal that was "Dark Water".

If you enjoy a good old fashioned Japanese ghost horror movie, then do yourself a favor and stay well clear of "Dark Water", because there are far, far better choices readily available in the same genre.
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7/10
Dark Water
Scarecrow-8830 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Divorced parents both wish to have custody of their daughter, Ikuko(Rio Kanno) and this film, from the director of RINGU, shows the mother's struggle to adapt on her own. With a new job and school for her daughter, Yoshimi(Hitomi Kuroki) is able to find a gloomy..but affordable considering her limited income..apartment complex to live in. Yet, something isn't quite right about this floor she lives on and a certain bedroom has this unusual circle of water forming on the ceiling. She discovers that a missing little girl once lived on her floor and that her school bag keeps popping up in places. Tha water tank above the apartment complex might just hold the answer as Yoshimi sees eye-opening revelations when clasping her hands on the school bag. Even scarier, whatever lies within her floor has an interest in getting rid of Ikuko and water is a direct source of her appearing. What is it about water and what happened to that missing girl?

More of a drama about maternal love and protection using supernatural elements that a full-fledged chiller. Probably a bit too leisurely paced and quiet for horror fans expecting some ghostly evil child springing from water to kill helpless victims. A large portion of this film deals with Yoshimi's adapting to being a single mother dueling with her ex over Ikuko. Water has really become synonymous with modern Japanese horror as well as the black, long-haired ghost child..both make their appearance in Nakata's film here, but are used more as a story-telling gimmick regarding a dead child who always craved for the maternal love a mortal daughter has and willing to kill to have it. Yoshimi has to make a decision..if she doesn't go along with the child that haunts their floor Ikuko's life may be in grave danger. What hurts this film, I think, is the old Amityville Horror illogic..if a place is haunted, why remain? Why not get out of Dodge while the goings good? Obviously, there are other places to rent and live than just this spooky apartment they are staying. The film does seem to side with the mother as she's looked upon as a rather weak female trying to grow up without the man guiding her steps, looking for work and attempting to remain strong despite the up-hill battle as the father, who is barely seen, represents as great a threat as the ghost child who desires a mother to call her own. He wishes to give a home to Ikuko and has the monetary means to do so..but Yoshimi is seen as a loving mother who just wishes to remain close to her daughter, but finds this increasingly difficult with all that's stacked against her.
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6/10
Disappointing horror film from Japan is a long slog to the creepy final fifteen minutes
dbborroughs31 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This film was recently remade for an American audience and I wanted to sit down and see the original before attempting the remake. On the basis of this film I'm not going to bother with the remake since the original isn't very good.

The plot of this film has a mother and a daughter moving into an apartment building at the same time that the mother is going through a messy divorce. The apartment isn't the best but they take it with the assurance it will be cleaned up. Almost immediately after moving in water begins to drip from the ceiling. Something up stairs is leaking The mother tries to get action but nothing is done. As time goes on stranger things begin to happen relating to water and what appears to be a little girl. Unsure of her sanity the mother begins to investigate the reasons behind what is going on in her apartment and to her daughter.

The secret of what is happening and the final resolution isn't anything special. To me the movie is more form over content with a long slow build up to any sort of scares. I wouldn't mind if things slowly built up to something or were creepy, but until the final twenty minutes there's nothing. Oh sure the film tries to be creepy, it practically beats you over the head with manufactured creepiness. Unfortunately none of it is genuine.

Worse, much of the character motivation and the final resolution of everything makes zero sense to me. (I want very much to ask a question here but it would give the ending away so I'm not going to do so) This is a semi interesting attempt at a scary movie that feel much too manufactured to be real. So while its got a good last fifteen or twenty minutes its not enough to recommend the film. I'd watch this only if you can't find something else.
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"But She Loves The Bath! She's Going To Stay In It Forever!"...
azathothpwiggins3 September 2019
Yoshimi Matsubara (Hitomi Kuroki) and her young daughter move into a dreary, urban apartment block. Yoshimi is in the middle of a nasty divorce / custody battle with her estranged husband. We sympathize with her, since she seems to be getting slammed from all sides. This, along with Yoshimi's past, somehow make her particularly well-suited for what takes place.

Odd occurrences start almost immediately, especially after a large water stain is discovered on the bedroom ceiling. As the stain grows, and drips ever more profusely, Yoshimi is drawn into a mystery that leads to a terrifying, yet poignant conclusion and epilogue.

Another classic supernatural horror film from Japan, DARK WATER is Director Hideo Nakata's gloomy follow-up to his RINGU 1-2. Filled with foreboding atmosphere and imagery, Nakata has created another perfectly grim, slow-building creeper. This movie is certainly in the upper echelon of the Japanese ghost stories of its era...
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10/10
Extremely creepy.
HumanoidOfFlesh8 December 2003
Hideo Nakata's "Dark Water" is one of the creepiest Japanese horror movies I have ever seen.A nervous mother Yoshimi Matsubara,undergoing divorce proceedings,moves into an apartment building that is haunted by a young girl,who disappeared years earlier."Dark Water" is a perfect horror film.It is based on a novel by Koji Suzuki,so fans of "Ringu" won't be disappointed.Nakata's technique is to imply terror by suggestion,rather than the overuse of special effects.He perfectly captures an atmosphere of uncontrollable fear.Hitomi Kuroki is excellent as the neurotic,paranoid Yoshimi and Rio Kanno is equally remarkable as her five year old daughter,Ikuko.So if you're a fan of Japanese horror give this one a look.10 out of 10.Highly recommended.
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9/10
An absolute nightmare!
christopher-underwood23 January 2019
An absolute nightmare! Its a while since I last saw this and although I didn't remember all the details, i remembered the sense of dread that permeated the film. The horror is on two levels, the first is the terror of the last child waiting to be picked up from school. There is always an element of sadness on such occasions, but here with the torrential rain it is really awful. Then there are the complications and horrors of divorce negotiations, unpleasant anywhere but made worse here with the concentration on custody of the child. Apart from these mundane horrors are those involving water and phantom child appearances. For me water dripping from the ceiling, seeping across the floor and tumbling ceaselessly from taps is an actual nightmare experience and this combined with the worries over the child tip this from horror film into a very worrying area indeed. Brilliantly directed with sound and vision terrifyingly coordinated for maximum discomfort.
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8/10
Moving and Creepy
bensonmum24 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Dark Water is a truly unique film in that it worked on two different levels with me. First, it worked as a horror movie. No, it's not pee-your-pants scary with buckets of blood. Instead it's just plain old creepy with lots of spooky atmosphere. Even though much of the horror lurks at the periphery, it's a constant, definite presence. And when the horror does spill into the characters everyday lives, it's very effective. Who would have thought that a little girl's Kimiko bag could be so eerie? Second, Dark Water works as a drama. I bought the pain of the mother fighting to keep her child. And I felt the joy as the two played together. And in the end, when the mother realizes what she must do to save her child, I felt the heartbreak of both characters.

The whole thing works because of some great acting. Hitomi Kuroki gives a remarkable performance as the mother. I believed and felt everything she was going through. Most of the Asian films I have seen recently have had good acting, but Kuroki's performance stands above the rest. As for the little girl, she's not the annoying child I'm so used to seeing in films like this. She seems real. It's a nice job by such a young person.

My rating would be higher if it weren't for the predictable nature of what happened to the missing Mitsuko. It's should be apparent to anyone (other than the characters in Dark Water) where the child is and how she died. Still, it's a remarkable ride to an inevitable discovery.
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6/10
Not as great as I thought it would be.
lost-in-limbo18 May 2005
A mother has just gone through a difficult divorce and is now fighting for the custody of her young daughter. This is really eating her up, but also causing havoc is the apartment building is leaking water and some strange things are occurring involving a small child's red bag.

Well, I found this film to be quite unsatisfying as a whole and rather ordinary. Maybe I was expecting too much. Since such other Asian horror films I saw, I didn't really know what to expect or have high expectations and I quite enjoyed them. Though, since now that the genre's popularity has skyrocketed, so have its expectations.

For me ''Dark Water'' just came across as mostly empty and with only small patches of interest amongst some dragging scenes. It advantages is that it has a easy to follow narrative and some good character development than the likes of Ju-on and Ringu films, but it sorely lacked the frights of those and it becomes rather foreseeable.

The performances were good, Hitomi Kuroki as Yoshima Matsubara as the unstable mother and Kanno as Ikuko, Yoshima's 6 year old daughter who is caught up in the mess of the haunted building. Though, the best and most compelling performance is the apartment building. It's as if it's got a life of its own.

The gloomy atmosphere and spine tingling score stood out. The rundown apartment building has a very good atmospheric feel of dread and there are some potent features that are added into the mix. So the setting and mood of the film was fairly superior. It had a few chills, but something just took away most of the uneasiness and surprises it supposedly holds. Maybe it was that this felt more like a story more about family valves and relationships then really trying too get you creep out.

The ghost itself wasn't particularly creepy or unnerving and some scenes and ideas started to get too repetitious. Though, you come to except that in Japanese horror films nowadays.

But overall, it just didn't deliver the goods for me. As the horror element felt half-baked and the ending was a deflated let down.

It's mildly amusing.
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7/10
Its ending dampens its effect a little.
Pjtaylor-96-13804413 July 2021
From the director of 'Ring (1998)' and based on a short story by the same author who penned the novel on which that film was based, 'Dark Water (2002)' sees a mother and daughter move into a water-logged apartment that may just be less than ideal in more ways than they initially expect. The film is, essentially, a drama about a mother struggling to raise her daughter whilst undergoing a bitter divorce which sees her ex-husband attempt to paint her as 'unfit' at every possible turn. The picture isn't afraid to sit with its quieter scenes, even though it does sprinkle elements of suspense throughout its entire duration. This allows for a relatively strong connection to form between the protagonist and the audience. In turn, it makes you care about her (and her daughter) when things start to get more traditionally scary later on. The scares themselves are well-paced and executed even better, often genuinely getting under your skin despite remaining rather subtle - or, perhaps, because they remain rather subtle. However, things start to get a bit too over the top for their own good as the affair moves into its final third. Though the way in which its mystery elements unravel is intriguing and ultimately satisfying, the actual horror starts to get more exaggerated than I would have liked it to. The epilogue also goes on for, in my opinion, far too long and removes a lot of the ambiguity that the narrative would have had if it stopped just that bit earlier. Still, these issues don't ruin the effect of the piece so much as dampen it. For the vast majority of its run-time, this is a compelling and enjoyable picture. It's really good, even if it doesn't quite stick its landing. 7/10.
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A Slow-Burning Tale Of Family, Tragedy, Isolation & Abandonment
CinemaClown10 September 2018
Enveloped with a brooding atmosphere that hints at a quietly disturbing dread gurgling beneath its slow-burn narrative, Dark Water is a tale of family, tragedy, isolation & abandonment that's often suspenseful, at times unsettling but never terrifying.

The story concerns a divorced mother who moves into a dilapidated apartment with her daughter to begin a new chapter in their lives. But things soon take a turn for the worse when they start experiencing supernatural occurrences that's got something to do with the floor above.

Directed by Hideo Nakata (best known for Ringu), Dark Water builds its ominous ambience methodically and that sense of foreboding never really goes away. But it's the mother-daughter bonding that drives this story and there is a melancholic tone to how the entire set of events eventually unfold.

The run-down apartment serves as a fitting place for the horror to unfold but it's the slow, controlled camerawork, cleverly chosen angles & slightly diluted colour palette that heightens the creepy vibe. Pacing is on the slow side that may not go well with everyone. But performances are terrific throughout.

On an overall scale, Dark Water may not be scary but it definitely has that uneasy aura that keeps you invested in the story. The horror elements pierce through the intimate & heartbreaking family drama in a subtle way and though predictable at times, the film offers an experience that's at least satisfying, if not startling.
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5/10
Better than the American version, but not by much
cricketbat23 October 2020
I was disappointed in the American version of Dark Water, so I hoped that this version was better. It was, but only by a little bit. There are some very creepy moments during this movie, however, once again, I was disappointed by the ending. And that failure to stick the landing made me less likely to want to watch it again or recommend it to others.
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7/10
Better than American...
Thanos_Alfie1 March 2014
"Honogurai mizu no soko kara" or "Dark Water" is the first movie of Dark Water three years before the American version and I have to say that this movie is really better than the American version. This version has more suspense, action and is more creepy than the American and I believe that it's also the definition of a horror movie.

After "The Ring", "The Ring 2", "Grudge" and more Japanese movies (or based on Japan culture) we watch this one. First of all the whole movie is based on the novel of Kôji Suzuki which is really impressive. Secondly Hideo Nakata did a great job in the direction of this movie. Thirdly the interpretations of Hitomi Kuroki who plays as Yoshimi Matsubara was magnificent and Rio Kanno who played as Ikuko Matsubara when she was 6 years old is outstanding.

Finally I have to say that "Dark Water" is a really nice horror movie which has to give you and it can transfer to us many feelings from the actors and that is something that direction and especially Hideo Nakata did a very good job under the guidance of course of Kôji Suzuki.
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7/10
Dark Water is another contemporary Japanese horror classic that blends scares with drama.
TheMovieDiorama24 February 2018
Hideo Nakata must have a fascination with girls and dirty water. He took the world by storm with 'Ring' which involved a creepy girl in a well, and now this. A single mother and her daughter move into a new apartment in order to try and win sole custody of her child. However, she starts experiencing unexplainable sounds and startling visions which questions her mental well-being. An interesting combination, and one that works effectively. Merging supernatural tension with a family's emotional struggle, the symbolism and metaphorical analogies of divorce is apparent. How it can destroy not just the people around you, but also belongings and ownership of possessions. One may consider the ghostly entity to be a reminder of the emotional distress you can go through during a divorce. Other perspectives may just include the fact that she moved into a dilapidated complex where her ceiling is leaking. That's right, two valuable lessons here. Firstly, if your ceiling is leaking...abandon your home and save yourselves. Secondly, if you are running late to pick up your child from school...God damn tell someone! Nonetheless, Nakata directed another chilling horror with many effective camera placements where ghostly imagery can be seen in the distance. Hitomi Kuroki beautifully acted the innocent mother, she held the film together. Really emotional scene towards the end where mother and daughter are separated by an elevator, I felt the feels. Whilst it is a horror, it's not particularly scary. It's more focussed on the family drama. The ghost's motives were extremely ambiguous. At certain points she becomes aggressive and malicious, but her unfortunate demise was her own doing. I'm not entirely convinced that she needed to be the antagonist, particularly during the third act. I can see why, it just felt rushed and spontaneous. Also the last ten minutes could've been cut to make a tighter film. Yet again, another good Japanese horror where the American remake pales in comparison.
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Lame pseudo-Hollywood horror with subtitles. Try Takashi Miike or Polanski's 'The Tenant' instead.
Infofreak6 March 2004
I was one of the few people who hated 'Ringu', the sequel, the prequel and the remake. I thought all of them were tedious, illogical and (most damning) not scary at all. So I was not looking forward to watching 'Dark Water' as it is based on another novel by the 'Ringu' writer and directed by Hideo Nakata who was responsible for 'Ringu' and 'Ringu 2'. Even so I tried to approach it with an open mind as a few people I knew who also disliked 'Ringu' have praised it. Now I ALMOST feel mean writing this but after the first half hour of nothing happening the movie got progressively duller and duller. 'Dark Water' is such a snoozefest it should be sold over the counter for insomniacs. Granted it isn't as downright stupid as 'Ringu', but the "mystery" here is so bleeding obvious that you think there just has to be a twist... but there isn't. The movie isn't helped at all by having such a flaky and unlikeable main character (played by Hitomi Kuroki). I really didn't care what happened to her one way or the other. And the end... well what can you say? "Anticlimactic" doesn't even begin to describe it! Now I'm not a hardcore gorehound who can't appreciate psychological horror. One of my favourite movies of all time is Polanski's 'The Tenant', which also features a newcomer dealing with strange goings on and secrets in a creepy building. But that movie, unlike 'Dark Water', is full of suspense, mystery and atmosphere and really gets under your skin. I'm sure that even people who enjoyed 'Ringu' will find 'Dark Water' a major letdown. And surprise, surprise a Hollywood remake will shortly be upon us. Despite the mainstream media hype there actually HAS been an explosion of innovative and imaginative Japanese horror/exploitation movies. Just don't look for it in the trite movies of Hideo Nakata. Instead explore Takashi Miike, Shinya Tsukamoto and Takashi Ishii to name just a few. Those guys are the real deal, and are genuinely pushing the envelope, not just making lame pseudo-Hollywood horror with subtitles.
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7/10
Another disquieting creepy-kid Japanese ghost story
jamesrupert201417 May 2020
Inexplicable, and ultimately terrifying, events plague a mother (Hitomi Kuroki) involved in a bitter divorce and her young daughter (Rio Kanno) after they move into a run-down apartment building. The film is an effective psychological horror but cleaves too closely to director Hideo Nakata's previous hit 'Ringu' (1998) to feel particularly novel (especially the supernatural water-imagery). Kuroki is very good as the desperate mother frightened of losing her child, at first to mundane forces but ultimately to the horror that inhabits the building, and Kanno is very low-key and unaffected as her as her six-year old daughter. The film is more creepy than scary and Hideo Nakata makes very good use of subtle changes and fleeting glimpses to build first tension, then fear. My only complaint is his use of some kind of 'psychic-flashbacks' to fill in plot points (I found the similar scenes in 'Ringu' to be the weakest in the film). Although some viewers didn't like the ending, I thought that it was a satisfying conclusion to the story (although some aspects of the closure scenes didn't really make sense). A good addition to the flood (sorry, couldn't resist) of creepy kid films coming out of Japan (and quickly cloned in Hollywood) - not 'scary' but definitely disquieting.
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4/10
Worth watching
atinder16 June 2013
I did seen the remake before this and I did re-watch this few days before this movie as I thought I had not seen the remake before but then it hit, that I did see the remake before and It was very get able

There was not much different from the remake at all, it did have some better and some bit more creepy feel to the remake/

Maybe I soon have not seen too soon after the remake, I was really bored by it, I watched it's all way thought.

This didn't seem the same impact on me as other J-horror movies, I loved Ringu, ju-on and One missed called series.

There were one or teo creepy moment that really stand out this movie nothing really that memorable.

A liked the ending in this movie a lot better then remake cause here easy to understand.

4 out of 10
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8/10
Spoilers follow ...
parry_na11 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Directed by the acclaimed Hideo Nakata, this Japanese horror was part of a number of films featuring ghostly black-haired children that courted a wave of popularity (and American remakes) alongside The Ring, the Eye and The Grudge.

Recently divorced Yoshimi Matsubara (Hitomi Kuroki) and her young daughter Ikuko (Rio Kanno) move into a rundown apartment block where there is an alarming – and growing – patch of damp dripping from the ceiling. Ikuko attends the local school and adapts quickly, but sees ghostly images of a dark haired youngster. This little spirit is often accompanied by puddles of water that seem to be reaching out towards Ikuko, like fingers. Could this be the local child that has recently gone missing, leaving only her red school satchel behind – a satchel that crops up in the most unlikely places?

SPOILER: it emerges that the missing Mitsuko Kawai (Mirei Oguchi) drowned in a large water tank on the apartments' roofing whilst trying to retrieve her satchel. Now a ghost, she now sees Yoshimi as a kind of mother figure, and haunts her and her daughter, leading Yoshimi to make the ultimate sacrifice and appears to travel over to the 'the other side' to appease the spirit and save her daughter. This scene is illustrated as Yoshimi elects to stay in the elevator frequented by Mitsuko's spirit. When at last the sliding doors open before her, a vast outpouring of water envelops Ikuko. Of her mother, there is no sign – until ten years later when she revisits the apartments, dilapidated outside, but tidied and fresh inside. She sees her dead mother who assures her that as long as she is well, she is happy. Mitsuko is also there, but when Ikuko turns, she is gone.

This is a good, creepy film that also carries a real emotional sting. Although Mitsuko has a history of instability, there is little doubt that the watery hauntings are real, and these are achieved very convincingly – none more so than when Mitsuko enters her flat once again after the damp patch on the roof has grown once more, to find filthy water pouring from the ceiling in every room. The effect is very much as if it is raining on the inside and is highly unsettling.

The melancholy of the lonely little girl, now without a mother, is also palpable but at least we get (and she gets) some assurance that Mitsuko will always be watching over her.
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