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Dark Water (2005)

PG-13 | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 8 July 2005 (USA)
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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

Writers:

Kôji Suzuki (novel), Hideo Nakata (film Honogurai mizu no soko kara) | 2 more credits »
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jennifer Connelly ... Dahlia
John C. Reilly ... Mr. Murray
Tim Roth ... Jeff Platzer
Dougray Scott ... Kyle
Pete Postlethwaite ... Veeck
Camryn Manheim ... Teacher
Ariel Gade ... Ceci
Perla Haney-Jardine ... Natasha / Young Dahlia
Debra Monk ... Young Dahlia's Teacher
Linda Emond ... Mediator
Bill Buell ... Mediator
J.R. Horne J.R. Horne ... Man in Train
Elina Löwensohn ... Dahlia's Mother
Warren Belle ... UPS Man
Alison Sealy-Smith Alison Sealy-Smith ... Supervisor
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Storyline

Dahlia Williams and her daughter Cecelia move into a rundown apartment on New York's Roosevelt Island. She is currently in the midst of divorce proceedings and the apartment, though near an excellent school for her daughter, is all she can afford. From the time she arrives, there are mysterious occurrences and there is a constant drip from the ceiling in the only bedroom. There are also noises coming from the apartment directly above hers, though it would appear to be vacant. Is the apartment haunted or is there a simpler explanation? Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This Season, The Mystery Of The Darkness Will Consume Your Life See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, frightening sequences, disturbing images and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 July 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Agua turbia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,939,251, 10 July 2005

Gross USA:

$25,473,352

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$49,483,352
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (unrated)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jennifer Love Hewitt turned down the role of Dahlia. See more »

Goofs

(at around 18 mins) In the custody office when Dahlia is arguing with Kyle over hers and Ceci's relocation, Dahlia takes out a newspaper cutting detailing how good the school near her new apartment is; she holds it up with her right hand. In the following shot the article has switched hands, and Kyle snatches it from her left hand. See more »

Quotes

Dahlia: [Referring to Natasha] I can't be her mother...I don't know how to be myself!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Unrated version adds one scene (dream sequence) but removes the dream/reality scene (where Dahlia dreams that her daughter returns from her father) and the scene where Ceci calls Dahlia. In the end the unrated version runs ca 1 minute shorter. See more »


Soundtracks

Electrified
Written by Mike Gallagher and Marc Ferrari
Performed by Mike Gallagher
Courtesy of Marc Ferrari/MasterSource
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Teenagers!
4 January 2006 | by FilmSnobbySee all my reviews

Don't know about you all, but I've sort of had it up to here with teenagers. Walter Salles' *Dark Water* flopped because of teenagers. The geniuses up the highway from me at the Walt Disney Company tried to market this psychological drama -- in SUMMER! -- to teenagers as a slasher film . . . OOPS. When the teenagers discovered that the film's primary concern was with a troubled single mother, fresh from a nasty divorce and currently embroiled in a custody fight, they lost patience with it (the screen offering no steaming entrails oozing from savagely slashed pregnant abdomens and such) and commenced downloading ring-tones from Katazo on their cellphones in the darkened theaters. The epilogue to the sorry saga of this film's release? The teenagers infest this website with their 1-star reviews and poor grammar and ALL CAPS SENTENCES. Look, I've got an idea: I think it's high time that the folks at IMDb create an entirely separate website -- let's call it "IMDbTeen" -- in which the children can vent their spleen and leave THIS site for the rest of us to discuss movies. And no, banishing the youngsters to the discussion boards won't cut the mustard -- the Ritalin-addicted kids, thumbs sore from their PSPs, have obviously found their way to the review pages. Or perhaps IMDb, which is owned by Amazon, can follow their corporate parent's lead and force teenagers to identify themselves as such -- the rest of us can then ignore their comments.

Pardon the W.C. Fields rant, but *Dark Water* is too good a film to be hijacked by walking pimple sacks, sorry. Here is a great work of art that has been virtually disowned by its director because of the poor box office returns. Hey, Salles, if you're reading this, there's no reason for you to hang your head in shame over this picture. I, for one, appreciated your baroque homage to Polanski's *Repulsion*, and can even state that the performance you get out of Jennifer Connelly actually surpasses Deneuve's work in that earlier film. Connelly thoroughly inhabits the role -- an unglamorous one that asks this beautiful actress to dress in ratty clothes while suffering from constant migraines. She convinces us as a desperate case, both financially and emotionally, and also convinces us that Dahlia is an honest-to-goodness mom (Connelly has a couple of kids in real life, which not only helps, but is a necessity on an actress' resume if she presumes to play this part). And it's not just Connelly who scores in the acting department: John C. Reilly as the superintendent delivers an immortal monologue (mostly improvised, according to the DVD extras) as he offers Dahlia and her daughter a grand tour of the hideous housing project on Roosevelt Island that is the setting of the movie. "Where's the living room?" asks Dahlia. "This is it," effuses Reilly, "It's both bedroom AND living room! It's what they call a DUAL-USE room. Look at it -- it's huge!" Anyone who has ever dealt with a real estate agent will recognize Reilly's canny mix of friendliness and utter untrustworthiness. A-class talent such as Pete Postlethwaite and Tim Roth also make significant contributions as the building's janitor and Dahlia's lawyer, respectively.

But the prime virtue of the film is in the photography and set design. *Dark Water* is that rarest of horror films: it's set in the city. Roosevelt Island, to be precise, that run-down spit of land across the river from Manhattan, encrusted with Soviet-bloc inspired tenement housing. ("The Brutalist style," as Reilly would have it.) Salles' DP has a field day in this environment, getting some nice aerial shots of the brick and cement rat maze, as well as some low shots pointing up toward the tenement towers' imposing height. The weather is usually rainy (the incessant leitmotiv of the film is water, obviously), the sky is gun-gray, smokestacks dominate the horizon, the overall color palette consists of institutional gray, poverty-row brown, icky black, depression blue. The interiors, specifically of Dahlia and Ceci's apartment -- along with the mysterious 10-F directly upstairs -- is a fond homage to Catherine Deneuve's greasy, miserable apartment in Polanski's *Repulsion*, with some nods thrown towards the Coens' *Barton Fink* along the way (especially in regards to the peeling plaster and moist dry-wall and overall dilapidation).

But is *Dark Water* really scary? Presumably, this would be the point. It's probably not scary enough to scare the pimple sacks, but it's scary enough for those who've had to deal with life's most fundamental problems, such as raising a child alone, or finding oneself crippled by either physical or mental handicaps, aggravated by an unhappy past, WHILE raising a child alone. In other words, it's scary enough for grown-ups, who can find terror in watching their children cross a busy intersection. And in any case, Salles delivers a few choice jolts along the way, which I won't spoil. But the genius of the film is in its atmosphere: an unrelenting brooding menace that feeds off of urban misery. *Dark Water* is depressing and scary.

And splendid. 9 ardent stars out of 10.


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