Dark Water (2005) Poster

(2005)

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9/10
Teenagers!
FilmSnobby4 January 2006
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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9/10
Good character-driven human drama; I blame the teenagers for the low rating.
Potty-Man26 July 2005
Once more, a great injustice has been done by IMDb voters. Dark Water currently has a rating of 5.4, with 16% of the voters giving it a 1! Note that 16% is 251 users, so it's not that a lot of people thought it was bad, it just that not many people saw it and/or voted.

It's quite obvious what happened. In what must be the most idiotic marketing move of the century, Dark Water was promoted as a horror movie. Not only is the original Japanese version not that scary to begin with, and focuses more on the drama and the human aspects of the story, but in the remake, the horror element completely gets thrown out the window in favor of an intelligent, mature human drama. I can say that 75% of the people who were with me in the theater had no idea what kind of movie this is going to be. Needless to say, about an hour into it they began shifting in their seats, chatting or giggling. Most of them were teenagers, who came looking for cheap thrills and got a "bore-fest" instead. The same kind of teenagers who, I bet, later voted it a 1.

True, the movie could have been edited a little tighter, and some sequences could have been left on the editing room floor, but it's not boring. It does take its time establishing and developing the relationships and the characters, but since the movie is all about the characters, that's a good thing. It's quite an ambitious drama, and as such, it doesn't always strike home. The script, I think, is the main problem. Since it presents us with very real people with real problems, but doesn't seem to know where to take them from there. As a result, the plot is thin. It's certainly not an event-driven movie. It remains unclear what the main conflict is for the heroine. The writer wasn't fine tuned on what he wanted to say, or maybe the director, Walter Salles, mishandled the material. For me, the story was about learning to let go, and the difference between loving someone and wanting them to be happy, and loving someone so much that you want that person to belong only to you. It's the difference between being willing to sacrifice vs. a selfish and possessive kind of love. I think the movie should have put more weight on that.

Other than that, the film does strike the right chords more often than not, and provides a lot of touching, sad moments. The acting is wonderful and three dimensional. All of the cast does an excellent job, but especially Jennifer Connelly, who proves once more she is the best American actress working today. The cinematography and the art design are beautiful, with a lot of attention to atmosphere. Also, Walter Salles shows some neat directing techniques in playing with the viewer's minds, making us doubt what's real and what's imaginary, and giving visual expression to the heroine's ever deteriorating state of mind.

All in all, I'd rate this movie a 7.5. But 5.4?!!!! That's lower than Fantastic Four, for crying out loud. I just hope that it finds the right audience when it's released on DVD.
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8/10
This is a beautiful film
smoore19829 July 2005
I have never posted a review on this site, but I feel that I should inform some people on "Dark Water".This is NOT a horror film.Yes,it's being marketed that way but it's not.This is a drama about a mother and daughter trying to make it on their own with a bit of a ghostly twist.Jennifer Connelly is amazing and has become one of my favorite actresses.In this,she is strong and fragile.She almost made me cry once or twice as she tried to hold things together and convince herself that she is not crazy.The little girl playing her daughter is sublime;The next dakota fanning maybe. This film is slow paced,there are NO big scares,no blood-just tension and mystery under the surface.The pace brings you to really care about the characters and not root for dahlia because it's Jennifer Connelly,but because it's Dahlia.It has one of the saddest yet hopeful endings I've seen in a while.This stands head and shoulders above "The Ring" (which I liked) and "The Grudge".Give it a try if you're looking for a good drama.
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10/10
It's all about atmosphere
paul_bernell24 July 2005
Don't be fooled: you're not going to go see a horror movie. You're going to immerse yourself into a strange, morbid atmosphere that will carry you through an intimate, beautifully filmed story where it's the atmosphere and the characters that count. Yes, there's a few horror elements, but they are a subtle, underlying subplot that does not interfere with the delicate, smooth direction of Walter Salles. Nothing in this film is meant to scare you, but rather to leave a sense of discomfort after you've seen it. A sense of paranoia, like the main character's. And Jennifer Connelly is absolutely fantastic here. Much stronger than the original: here, the characters are real, and Salles connect us to their turmoil right away. Reminiscent of a Henry James novel, where fear builds up in the background as you share more and more of the main character's feeling. In a word: sophisticated. Different. The only similar experiment of this kind of subtle fear, injected in your imagination as you watch the film, is an Italian short I saw at last year's Frighfest, entitled "Xchange". While you wait to be scared on screen, the story almost subliminally built horror in the audience's mind. A must see.
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8/10
Dark Water Has Depth
ghoulieguru23 November 2005
Of all the recent remakes of Japanese horror films, I have to say that Dark Water is the only remake that actually surpasses the original. I think the reason that so many people are so hard on it is because they went in expecting to see THE RING or THE GRUDGE. They went in expecting to see a scary ghost movie. Dark Water is not really a horror movie, at least not in the traditional sense. It's actually more of a drama set in a haunted apartment complex. If you go in expecting to have stuff jump out at you, you will be disappointed.

It's sad that everyone expects horror films to have a bunch of jump scares in them these days. Whatever happened to the slow buildup of tension and paranoia of something like ROSEMARY'S BABY? If you go into Dark Water expecting something more akin to Rosemary's Baby or a Hitchcock thriller, you might just end up enjoying this film.

As far as comparing this remake to the original, I will say that I felt that Jennifer Connelly was a much more compelling character than the mother in the original movie. Overall, the characters were fleshed out better. I understood the conflict between the mother, the father and the little girl much more in the remake. The original just sort of glanced over many of these details. Some of the shots were actually more effective than the ones in the original, and the ending in the remake is more satisfying and better executed than in the original. Generally, I think that J-horror is better left in its original incarnation. As much as I liked the Western version of THE RING, I felt like the only reason they remade it was to cast Naomi Watts as the lead. THE GRUDGE, they should have left that one alone. Nothing was gained by Sarah Michelle Gellar. But this one, this one is actually better than the Japanese original in my opinion.

This movie is not for everyone. It is a slow, poignant drama set in a really creepy location. It would probably play well in a double feature with ROSEMARY'S BABY. If you want to have stuff jump out at you, watch THE GRUDGE. If you want to watch a movie that has a little more depth to it, watch DARK WATER.
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Gives the original a nice dousing of reality.
sallyfifth9 July 2005
This is not a "child talks to dead people" movie. You should rejoice. It's not a "woman fights supernatural forces" thriller. You should get down on your knees and thank the powers that be. This is not "just an unnecessary re-make of the Japanese original". It's better.

Nakata is famous for taking the long view of his characters. Keeping us safe emotionally from them in order to bring the horror to life. Salles trumps him by pulling us right into Dahlia's arms where her fear, paranoia, and despair are absolutely palpable.

This is the story of a single mother trying to survive after a nasty divorce. Trying to hold onto her daughter so she can overcome her own history of abandonment. The ghosts (whether real or imagined) are peripheral to her dilemma.

The American Dark Water, gives us the same foreboding leak, the same bleak horrific photography, the same basic plot line, and yet by taking the emphasis off the ghosts reaches a much stronger emotional resonance.

Highly recommended for those that submit themselves to movies, rather than submit movies to themselves. You know who you are.
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10/10
Possibly marketed incorrectly, but still a fantastic film
rachaelrayfan727 July 2005
Before I say anything more, I want to acknowledge that this is not a horror film. I'm not sure if it was even marketed that way, but it is not. It is more drama/psychological thriller. So, before commenting on how it is a bad horror film, please re-evaluate before slandering.

On the film: This is one of my favorite films of the year. The acting by all characters is superb. Connelly plays the character of Dahlia to the tooth. Ariel Gade creates a strikingly, somewhat scary picture of a young Jennifer Connelly. (For now, I will stick with the two main characters) On the story: It is a story about a family being torn apart and the emotional instability of such effects. The supernatural portion of the story adds a feature one can only understand by watching the film. Connelly remarkably recreates scenes of insecurity and the pain of memory and also the pain of sacrifice.

See this film, not only for the characterization created by all of the actors, but for excellent cinematography, emotional depth, and the score (created beautifully by one Angelo Badalamenti). Also, pick up Koji Suzuki and also see the original Japanese film.
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10/10
A lot more than a remake
spam-73025 September 2005
Having seen both the Japanese original and Walter Salles' remake i find the remake was the best thing that could happen to this story. Salles picks up the original story without making just a copy. He fills the gaps (and there were plenty), corrects a lot of little flaws and adds the credibility that was lacking in the original. The original was in parts a horror movie, and a very poor one so. Predictable behavior, foreseen turnings, forced mysteriousness - the usual problems i have with so many horror movies. The other part is a family drama, with a weird happy end. The happiness of which intrudes into the horror story and further degrades it. Salles goes more than a step further here by not making a simple horror movie. Rather he's making a stressful movie. Stress? The stresses of everyday life in a difficult situation. A recent divorce, fighting for the custody of the child, low budget, cheap noisy apartment with wet ceiling, trouble at school, no contact with neighbors, careless caretakers and managers. It's a context fueled by very real issues people are struggling with every day. The mysterious components only add to this and drive it, until they finally take over. Very dense atmosphere and Jennifer Connelly's excellent acting make you feel this stress. What more can you ask for?
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10/10
Excellent piece of psychological work
velcrohead26 September 2005
I'm at a loss to describe why so many people here have panned this movie. I can only suppose that those who didn't like it went to see this expecting a horror movie. And since no monsters jumped out and hacked people to death, I imagine teenagers (apparently the main demographic that posts here) were bored to death with it. They couldn't understand why there wasn't a mutilated corpse every half step. Their A.D.D.-addled brains couldn't sit still long enough to decipher the complex plot points or to appreciate good character-building (something sorely lacking from movies nowadays.) Comparing this movie to "The Ring" is like comparing "Godfather" to "Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer." The movies are in two completely separate genres.

I blame the marketing department. The promos did make it look like a fright-fest. One might have expected ghosts to be flying around the room a la "Poltergeist." I suppose they must have assumed that those of us who like movies that actually engage us and make us think weren't a very big market. Instead, they chose to market it to the "slasher movie" ilk, and they, being simplistic, got headaches trying to sift through an actual PLOT. Then they went home to listen to their Korn CDs and smoke pot.

Anyway, that being said, I approached the movie with all the preconceptions I just mentioned. And if you do have those preconceptions and are unwilling to give them up, the movie will drag on mercilessly for you. However, I switched modes quite easily, and became intrigued with the plot. It led me one way and then another, every time giving me something new to think about.

Nobody can criticize the acting here, either. Jennifer Connelly is superb as always, but the young daughter is quite skilled as well, and I expect to see her more often in the future.

I won't get into specifics, but the ending is something I really wasn't looking for.

As I left the theater, all the adults (most of whom didn't know each other) were talking about what a great movie it was as we filed out the doors. The teenagers in the theater were too busy making out to notice the credits rolling.

View if you're mature. If you're not, save yourself the brain-strain and go rent "Seed of Chucky" and leave the grown folks alone.
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6/10
Underrated and Effective
christian12328 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Amidst a messy divorce, a single mother (Jennifer Connelly) and her young daughter move into a new apartment complex with her young daughter, only to be plagued by water problems as a leak in their ceiling turns out to be something far more sinister and haunting.

Dark Water is more of a thriller/family drama with some horror elements thrown in. If you're expecting something like The Ring or The Grudge then you will most likely end up disappointed. The film does have its share of suspenseful moments but the movie really focuses on the relationship between a mother and her daughter. When the film starts, its obvious that Dark Water is going to be a sad, depressing story because of the weather in the movie. Throughout most of the movie, its always raining or looking wet so it sets its mood early on and it keeps it the same throughout most of the film. The apartment building that they move into is also dark and creepy. It's in very bad shape and there are leaks everywhere so the setting adds more suspense.

The acting is great and the cast really does make the film interesting. Jennifer Connelly is a terrific actress and she proves it again here. Ariel Gade plays the daughter and she does a pretty good job. She will most likely become a bigger star when she's older. The supporting characters are played by John C. Reilly, Camryn Manheim, Tim Roth and Dougray Scott. They all play their roles well and none of them slack off.

Walter Salles is very good at building suspense and he moves the film along smoothly. He doesn't overpopulate the film with cheap scares or loud noises which was nice to see. The ending was strong and sad yet it's realistic because it shows how much she really cared for her daughter. It's also sad at the end of the movie when they reveal what happened to the other girl. It's sad to see a parent actually forget about his or her child and the ending is done effectively so. Dark Water is not a movie for the weak of heart. Those wanting a happy ending to the sad story should probably skip Dark Water. The pacing of the film is also a little on the slow side so if you're easily bored at slow dramas then watch something else. In the end, Dark Water is an effective thriller with strong performances and a creepy atmosphere. Those wanting a horror film should look elsewhere. Rating 8/10
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9/10
Very good character study with excellent acting. Warning: Spoilers
Misleadingly advertised as a Ring/Grudge like horror film, this is actually a poignant, dark and ultimately compelling drama with supernatural elements added. Jennifer Connelly is excellent in this movie as a disturbed single mom who's trying to make the best life possible for her young daughter (Ariel Gade) with limited resources and while in the middle of a messy divorce. Moving into a creaky apartment building with plumbing problems, both are seemingly haunted by the spirit of a young girl, who may be a murder victim. And I won't reveal anything else about the story. While Connelly carries the movie on her own and gives what is probably the best female acting performance in a "horror" film since Kathy Bates in Misery, she's ably supported by the likes of John C. Reilly, Tim Roth, Camryn Manheim and other excellent character actors. CGI is only discreetly used here for the special effects. The script is very well thought out and the production values are excellent.

I honestly blame the average rating (5.6 as of this writing) on teenagers who felt cheated by the false advertising. However, this is a film made for adults, not kids with short attention spans expecting decapitations, hacked off limbs and cheap jump scares every five minutes. If you are only wanting a bloody/exploitative horror film, don't watch this movie. If you want a mature psychological drama with good character development, excellent acting and a downbeat ending, you will probably enjoy Dark Water just as much as I did.
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6/10
in the line up of remakes
nobbytatoes24 October 2005
Dahlia and Kyle are separating; and its an ugly one. Dahlia keeps accusing Kyle of an affair, though he pleas innocence. Dahlia has priority custody of their daughter Ceci. Dahlia and Ceci move to a new area of the city, into a an apartment block; but its very decrepit and it a cut and copy building, all the rooms look the same. Not helping with the new arising situation is the weather, its constantly raining and there are leaks sprouting everywhere in the building. A water mark has appeared in the ceiling of Dahlia's and Ceci's room, and it slowly becomes bigger. The room upstairs is currently vacant, but there is water running and someone is walking around the room. When starting at her new school, Ceci creates an imaginary friend, but is it a friend or something more.

Dark water is a remake of the Japanese version Honogurai mizu no soko kara, in the every growing remake of Japanese horror remakes. The mood is dark and foreboding, yet there is a major flaw; its not scary. Though the original version wasn't scary either. When you look at both, they are more an observational look at parenting and the bond between mothers and daughters. So its more of a drama; with a supernatural twist. This has a very old horror movie build to it, it starts slow and as it goes along it builds in tension to it big conclusion. So it great to see this style come out again.

What really hold this movie together is the cast. Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Pete Postlethwaite and the ever great Tim Roth. They really hold the story, they make this story seem believable. Another great factor was the very ambient score, it really enhanced many of the scenes.

Though its not a good as the original version, its still strong enough to stand on its own merits as a good movie.
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9/10
Jennifer Connelly is amazing...
bumrush91414 July 2005
Whether or not you'll like this movie depends on what type of movies you like. If you really expect a thriller, you're going to be disappointed. If you're watching the movie for Jennifer Connelly, then you'll enjoy it for her amazing acting as always and the lack of thrills won't bother you as much. She can turn a slow moving movie into one that actually holds your attention throughout. Her presence makes any movie that much more enjoyable.

I'm not into the Japanese converted thriller/horror movies and enjoyed the fact that Dark Water was more interesting and plot developing than thrilling. I think Jennifer Connelly's an amazing actress, if anyone else stars in it - I would rate it a 1. Another HUGE plus is that the ending couldn't have tied up all the twists and pieces any better. Most of the time the ending makes the movie - in this case it helped the movie a lot. See the movie with an open mind or don't see it at all.

Oh yea - the advertisement commercials couldn't have been more off for this movie. They completely skewed everyone's expectations of the movie and hence the low rating.
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7/10
A good, thoughtful movie with a splendid central performance
E_D_N15 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I had to be DRAGGED to the theater to sit through yet another HIDEO NAKATA-Japanes horror inspired movie. I'd suffered through the RING movies before and couldn't think I could stand this. But I was actually surprised. It's actually a GOOD FILM, very melancholy, and that a film of that sort -- which aspires and competes with mindless summer blockbusters a la FANTASTIC FOUR -- dared to tackle such somber issues as child abuse, bitter matrimonial feuds, and others of that sort shows you that this was not meant to be a simple succession of red-herrings stitched together. It actually dealt with issues many of us go through or have gone through in our lives and I thought it was very perceptive in some ways.

The script (when not dealing with the supernatural) was thoughtful and intelligent and each and every characters from CAMRYN MANHEIM's kindly teacher to TIM ROTH's benevolent lawyers were very well sketched out. The direction and rich photography helped keep the tension high throughout.

The bulk of praises, however, belongs to JENNIFER CONNELLY. I've always been in awe of her beauty and her talent, esp. in her last outings: REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, A BEAUTIFUL MIND (hated the movie, liked her AND RUSSELL), but here, she literally makes this movie worth sitting through by providing the necessary gravitas. I don't think I've been touched by a film character like this in a long while. She emoted so naturally and effortlessly, it was heartbreaking to watch her self-immolate in the prison that that new apartment of hers was.

Not only is she beautiful, she's truly a marvelous actress. She did for this what NAOMI WATTS -- and I love NAOMI -- couldn't for the RING movies. I always sort of thought that NAOMI was going through the motions in those films. Also, the problem with the RING movies is that they suffered much in the "remaking" process and the scripts, quite frankly, were sub-par both times around.

But back to DARK WATER. I was struck with the rapport JENNIFER had with the young actress who played her daughter. They were so natural together on screen... perhaps her having become a new mother in real life contributed to her being so effortlessly maternal on screen.

All and all, a wondrous performance in an erratic but good (if depressing) movie.
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8/10
A Film Noir with Panache
gradyharp31 December 2005
Walter Salles has proved himself a formidable director with his successes in 'Central Station', Behind the Sun', and The Motorcycle Diaries': he is an artist unafraid to approach unfamiliar terrain in his growth as a director, yet always proving that the most important element in making a good film is to explore the characters more than just the atmosphere. Those who find faults with DARK WATER seem to be concentrating on critiques of special effects and manufactured terror machines. Where Salles succeeds in this adaptation of the original Japanese film by Kôji Suzuki (novel) and Hideo Nakata (director) is his concentration on developing interesting and strange people, characters with whom we can identify and thus whose encounters with the 'unknown' feel more intensely internal.

The story has been related ad infinitum: Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly) and her daughter Cecelia (Ariel Gade) move from Manhattan away from her recently estranged husband Kyle (Dougray Scott) to a creaky apartment building on Roosevelt Island to the benefit of real estate agent Mr. Murray (John C. Reilly) and under the suspicious eye of building super Veeck (Pete Postlethwaite). The building and the constant rain are ominous from the start but soon strange events happen that suggest either mental decline of both Dahlia and Ceci or the presence of ghosts. The title of the film describes not only the bleak atmospheric element that drives the story but also the netherworld that admixes surrealistic phenomena with psychosis. Characters enter the story naturally and comfortably: Jeff Platzer (Tim Roth) offers his legal defense of Dahlia in a manner that belies his mode of existence; Ceci's Teacher (Camryn Manheim) brings reality testing to the fuzzy world of imaginary friends; Alison Sealy-Smith as a supervisor where Dahlia seeks work is one of Dahlia's few kind encounters.

Though the pacing seems slow it does march like the descent of a mind into the unknown and Salles manages that well. The film's cinematography by Affonso Beato maintains the grunge effect that intensifies the terror and Angelo Badalamenti has provided a musical score that bears just the right amount of supportive suspense. But as with other Salles movies the work is supported by truly fine acting and once again Jennifer Connelly proves she can convey much with very little. Give this film a chance, without comparisons to other films of the genre, and see what Walter Salles can do with a story. Grady Harp
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7/10
Remake from Japanese movie with a top-notch performance by Jennifer Connelly
ma-cortes10 December 2007
After separation her husband (Dougray Scott) and taking custody her daughter (Ariel) , Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly , though Jennifer Love Hewitt turned down this role) attempts to do a new start . The apartment she moves alongside her daughter seems perfect at first . Dahlia carries her daughter to nearly school where the teacher (Camyn Manheim) teaches her and she , subsequently , hires a lawyer (Tim Roth) for the divorce . Soon , though , weird things start happening into house . Huge water stains appear on the ceiling and drip constantly , more water and oozing liquid into the rooms everyday . She calls the doorkeeper (Pete Postlehwaite) and the landlord (John C. Reilly) but they refuse to make anything about it . A child's red bag shows up in odd places and soon the child herself starts appearing and causing usual poltergeists phenomenon recreated with high grade special effects . Dahlia then discovers the origin of the specter .

This new version of Hideo Nakata film is plenty of screams , fear , suspense , thriller and results to be quite entertaining . The terror moments are delivered compactly and quietly with no fuss . The script copies exactly the Japan original movie without surprises . While the look is suitable atmospheric and eerie , the plot stretches plausibility to the breaking point . Nice acting by Jennifer Connelly , she turned down the role of Paige in ¨House of wax¨ (2005) , another horror remake , in order to appear in this one . Colorful cinematography by Alfonso Beato , usual cameraman of Salles , and creepy musical score fitting to horror movie by Angelo Badalamenti (Twin Peaks) . The motion picture was well realized by Walter Salles , in spite of little originality . Salles is the number one producer (City of God , Lower city) and director (Motorcycle diaries , Central Station , Behind the sun) from Brasil and recently making an American career . The flick will appeal to terror cinema buffs, well worth seeing.
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8/10
Right movie for the wrong audience.
gaeanprayer16 September 2006
First off, Jennifer Connelly is just awesome, in this movie and everything she's ever done since she was barely a teenager (Labrynth). With that said though, I have a bone to pick with this movie.

Dark Water has set itself up as a 'ghost' horror movie, and thus attracted an audience who expected to see blood, gore, chase scenes, a creepy ghost, and maybe even a naked Jennifer. Dark Water has none of these things, except the ghost, who is actually a small part of the movie.

What this movie should have advertised was a mother struggling after a divorce...a woman unable to escape the demons of her childhood...a ~mystery~ only she can solve, brought to her attention by the ghost of a child whose life clearly mirrored her own past before it was tragically ended...and a daughter caught in the middle of it all. If this is what Dark Water portrayed itself as, it would have been better received, as it would have had the correct audience. It may have even impressed those who weren't originally interested (Fathers/Sons/Boyfriends getting dragged along) as they wouldn't have expected gooey, gory, bloody things only to be let down.

Anyway, I tend to be a little more open-minded, so though Dark Water wasn't what I expected I still found it very enjoyable. The storyline was deep, and sad...maybe even worth a tear or two. Connelly's acting was top-notch, as always. And after watching the original, I have to say this is one of the better remakes out there.
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10/10
Duble eyes
missselooo28 January 2006
This is the most effective drama thriller with elements of lets say survivor horror that i seen in a long time.Jennifer Connelly acts superb,she is became with this movie one one my favorite actors.Also the story is original and if you watch it at night after midnight like i did,you will get the full concept of how this movie is great.Drama element are her so sad and real that it seam that is better not to have children in this cruelly lonely place that we call world. The two little girls are acting good as Dakota Faninng,and have a really scary look that doesn't leave you room four something else. One more time watch this movie and see it without thinking.
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Adept Psychological Thriller--But Not for Kids
voyager156024 June 2006
I agree with the user comment above in regard to the fact that teenagers will not appreciate this film. I kept telling myself as I was watching it, that it is not a movie that kids will understand. I shouldn't say 'all' kids, but probably most. Ironically, this is a movie that kids should see because they can learn about elements that a good movie usually contains: developed characters, a good plot, and excellent acting, to name a few. Not to mention that the movie gives the viewer a lot to think about and is an expertly crafted piece of psychological suspense.

There are reasons this movie will most likely not appeal to young people. To begin with, it is NOT a horror movie. It might be marketed to look like one, but it is more of a psychological thriller of sorts. So many kids will go to it expecting blood, gore and action, but get a literate, story-driven film instead--one in which thinking is required to fully understand what is going on. This is a movie that requires "active" viewing, just as if one were to read a well written novel with round characters, symbolism, and whatever other elements it may have to raise it beyond the level of mediocrity.

Unlike a more conventional horror movie like Boogeyman (which I also liked for other reasons), Dark Water is rooted in psychology and the inner and outer conflicts the characters attempt to overcome. It is also a film adept in creating a dark, disturbing mood. In fact, I was really impressed with its ability to play with one's emotions and fears so strongly. As another use noted above, it's almost as if the 'horror' is subliminal. The viewer doesn't necessarily have to see it in order to feel it. I think this is partly because we've all dealt with bits and pieces of what some of the main characters have to go through here. Some of their own discomfort seems familiar to us.

It is sad that many younger people cannot appreciate movies of this nature.
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8/10
Suspenseful Film, Superbly Acted by Connelly.
drownnnsoda11 August 2006
"Dark Water" is a remake of a Japanese horror film. The movie is about Dahlia, a woman who is going through a bitter divorce dispute with her husband. She decides to relocate to Roosevelt island on the coast of New York, with her daughter, Ceci. After going house searching, they decide on an old apartment complex that is being restored. Ceci seems to like the place, especially when she finds a Hello Kitty backpack on the building's rooftop. But after the two move into the small sky-high apartment, strange things start to happen. The neighbor above is always running their water, and strange noises come from up there. At least Dahlia thinks it's a neighbor, until she discovers that nobody lives up there anymore, and the handyman figures it's some kids pulling pranks by plugging the sinks and running the water. But the water continues to leak, emitting large black water stains on the ceiling. No matter what they do, the dark water keeps coming back, and the ghost of the young girl who lived there begins to visit Dahlia and Ceci, and is jealous of Ceci because her mother abandoned her.

I liked the story to this film, even though it's a remake. The film built up plenty of suspense throughout, and kept you not knowing what to expect next. Jennifer Connelly was completely perfect in her role, playing the woman who has all too many problems - a bitter divorce, bad memories from her own childhood and her mother, and on top of that the ghost of a little girl is terrorizing she and her daughter. Don't forget about the black water that keeps on leaking from the ceiling also. She's a great actress, and did perfect in the role. In fact, I felt all the characters had depth to them, and the conflicts in film were well established. There are some really creepy scenes in the film, including the basement laundry scene and all of the occasions when Dahlia goes to investigate what exactly is going on in the apartment above her. The ending to the film was actually a bit heartbreaking, but thoughtful at the same time, and I think that it fit the film well.

Overall, "Dark Water" is a suspenseful, scary, all around good movie. It's not a slasher or gore film, it's more psychological and supernatural, and it keeps you entertained and interested the whole way through as you watch a woman experience complete paranoia. And, it's all topped off with an excellent lead performance and a unique story. I enjoyed it. 8/10.
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At Last a Gripping Hollywood Horror Movie
aliasanythingyouwant21 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Dark Water may not be the new Rosemary's Baby - it's not quite subtle enough for that - but it proves itself a solid suspense-film nonetheless. In a time when movie-makers seem more intent on shaking us up than actually involving us in a story, this film comes as something of a revelation - a horror movie where the tension builds gradually, where human interest takes precedence over cheap shock-effects. The recent horror-excursion Saw seems cheesy and amateurish by comparison to Dark Water with its brooding intensity, its emotional texture. A movie like Saw is all about playing to the tastes of morbid adolescents, the kind of people who still think Marilyn Manson is cool. A movie like Dark Water provides a somewhat more sophisticated, though still readily accessible, brand of chills.

Like Rosemary's Baby the film is all about a threatening environment. Dahlia, who has recently separated from her husband, moves with her young daughter Ceci into a rent-controlled housing complex on Roosevelt Island, NY., a run-down tenement with a sleazy landlord, a grouchy super and a few dark secrets. Dahlia and Ceci are barely settled-in before they start experiencing signs of a haunted-movie-setting: strange noises from the room upstairs, bad dreams, a nasty water-stain spreading through the ceiling - all things that can be rationally accounted-for, of course, except that Dahlia suspects something more sinister than noisy neighbors or bad plumbing. The problem is that Dahlia herself is not exactly the picture of mental stability. She has lots of issues left over from her rotten childhood; she's unsettled after the separation from her husband; she suffers migraines - in short, the apparent supernatural manifestations could all be in her head. Like Rosemary's Baby the film teases us with the possibility that the heroine is simply delusional, that the strange goings-on are part of some paranoid fantasy. The difference is in the subtlety of the effect. In Rosemary, Roman Polanski achieved an unnerving atmosphere through purely cinematic means; in Dark Water, director Walter Salles employs more explicit imagery in helping generate a feeling of fear. Dark Water is less-accomplished than Rosemary cinematically, is more conventional in its effect, but it's still a worthy successor to Polanski's classic. It's genuinely involving, and like Rosemary it revolves around a brilliant, complex performance.

That performance is turned-in by Jennifer Connelly, one of the most riveting actors on the planet. Like Naomi Watts in The Ring, Connelly provides acting chops and understated sex appeal, and an uncanny ability to pull one deeper into the story. The mystery-plot of The Ring depended entirely upon Watts's ability to sell it, and the suspense-plot of Dark Water depends equally upon Connelly's. This is a juicy part for any actress, a troubled woman attempting to protect her child from some unknown threat, and Connelly just kills it dead. Her dark hair and haunting eyes fit perfectly with the film's brooding aesthetic, but what she brings in pure emotional focus is even more valuable. What Connelly possesses is an almost freakish talent for conveying psychic turmoil, the sense of a character being eaten alive by inner-demons. She showed this ability first in Requiem for a Dream, then in House of Sand and Fog as a lonely, troubled outcast, and in Dark Water she outdoes herself. Her Dahlia is a horror-movie heroine for all-times, right up there with Farrow's Rosemary - a character so fully-realized, so memorable that it transcends its origins. The best parts of Dark Water are those when suspense-mechanics and horror-imagery become irrelevant, and what we're left with is the story of a woman's psychological disintegration. If the film overall fails to quite rise to its star's level, it's only because the plotting is a little too routine and the tone at times too insistent. It could've stood to be a little more subtle, and take better advantage of Connelly, but even as it is, Dark Water is a superior suspense exercise.
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10/10
A really great film
gpapadoniou9 February 2007
I wasn't ready for that kind of cinematic experience,the film isn't clearly a thriller.Its more about a struggle of a mother with a child against todays state of loneliness.A state that keeps us all constantly in a cage-like apartment.This film is clearly about this struggle that lasts for most of us all life long.Thats the reason why this film is meant to be liked i think,of course the plot develops slow but thats the way life goes and the art is only imitating life:-)Jennifer is a great actress,the whole story depends on her acting,so thats another reason why you must see this film,don't expect a typical Hollywood blockbuster!This is truly a great story and a more that classic film.....
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10/10
Five years after Memento and Requiem for a Dream, another great movie
chp99mf11 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
*******WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!!!! Do not read any further if you haven't seen the movie !!!!! (or you can read, but at your own risk) *******

Let's start with what Dark Water is not. Dark Water is not an horror movie as The Ring, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween. If you're looking for something like that, it's not your ideal movie. After all, there is only one chilling scene, and it's quite at the end.

Instead, Dark Water is a slow, minimalist story. Walter Salles doesn't want to rush, and takes the audience through a calm journey: he uses still images of the buildings rather than fast scenes, and I have to thank him for that. As Haruki Murakami in his novels, Salles manages to tell a Japanese story that could happen in every part of the globe. New York, Tokyo, Rome, Moscow, it doesn't matter. But by telling his story, he remains faithful to the spirit of the Japanese storyline: a one-way trip towards a bitter ending, that has a strong meaning for the players of this drama -but also for the spectators.

The cast of actors is simply superb. Tim Roth, Pete Postelthwaite, John C. Reilly and the young Ariel Grade are great in their supporting parts; but of course the real stunning performance in this movie is from Jennifer Connelly. Playing the role of Dahlia, Jennifer doesn't steal the scenes: she's no super heroine or superstar. She's just an average, single mom with a lot of problems. She has to relocate with her daughter to a less fancy part of the city, because the rents are less expensive; her husband is giving her hell over their divorce; she's looking for a job, not really knowing what to do, going through embarrassing selections just to find a place close the her apartment and with a good health insurance; and she has to deal with her own problems, migraines, the memories of a mother too absent during her childhood, and a bad water leak that is ruining her new flat, just as she moved in. Connelly manages to give a face to all these fears with her interpretation. At the end, these are the fears that everyone, man or woman, white or black, Japanese or American, could have to deal with in the course of his/her life.

But, as in every life, there is an abrupt change that can always happen. And so it is here. Cecilia, Dahlia's daughter, starts to play, talk and respond to an "imaginary" friend, Natasha, that we will find out was the name of girl that disappeared from the apartment above Dahlia's one, and that will be found dead later in the water tank on the top of the building. Dahlia decides to face the problem on her own, talking to her daughter, trying to protect her from this danger. But also Dahlia has hallucinations: she sees her mother in her nightmares, haunting her.

Here, the film becomes really beautiful, because Salles and Connelly doesn't give the audience any clue of what is really happening next.

One interpretation is that the spirit of Natasha starts to play with Ceci and Dahlia, with the ultimate goal to control both and become Dahlia's daughter. While Ceci is taking a bath, Natasha appears, sitting next to Dahlia on the sofa. Worried, Dahlia rushes to the bathtub, just to find Natasha sinking Ceci's head in the (clear) water. Since the bathtub has a bulletproof glass, locked from the inside (again, from the evil Natasha!) the only way for Dahlia to save her daughter is to promise, whispering, to become Natasha's mother "forever". It's a desperate act of love, an incredible sacrifice that she has to make: the sacrifice of her own life to save her daughter's. Now, it's the dark water coming from somewhere that takes Dahlia's life, turning her into a ghost; a ghost that anyway will always look after Ceci, every time she's in need of her mother.

However, we don't know many things about this ending. We don't know who killed Natasha. We don't' know why Natasha and young Dahlia are played by the same actress -is it only because of a low budget policy? We don't know when and how Dahlia dies -was it the water, or was it before? We don't know if she really sees her husband giving money and lighting a cigarette to some punks that scared Dahlia when she was in the basement -or was it just an(other) hallucination? We don't know what happened to Dahlia in her childhood, and what she had to go through to become the woman she is. We just know that Dahlia had to suffer to build her life. But she's taking some pills, and at the end she may have even dreamed of everything else.

Another interpretation is that Dahlia turns mad at some point. But even in her madness, she has a deep, unstoppable love for her daughter. What is waiting Ceci in her future? If Dahlia is really turning mad, Ceci will have an history of suffering, looking after the ghost of her mother, locked in some remote clinic. Is that what Dahlia wants to be, a ghost in flesh and bones, an evil presence in the life of her beloved Ceci -just as Dahlia's mother? Is it Natasha or is it Dahlia who's haunting Ceci, not allowing her to live a normal life? Now, it's time to choose. And Dahlia chooses to give up her life, letting Ceci to live without troubles: the "good" ghost of her mother (i.e.: happy memories) will follow her, "forever".

However, we will never know what really happened in that last, tragic night, and that's the beauty of this movie.

In any case, Dark Water remains an astonishing story of a deep sacrifice, wonderfully developed by Salles and Connelly.
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9/10
An Apartment to Die For
nycritic1 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Subtlety can go a long way when trying to remake a well-known horror movie. In this case, yet another of Hideo Nakata's incursion into the realm of terror gets an updated feel, and relying solely on the slow escalation of the drama that unfolds in the rent-controlled apartment Dahlia moves into with her young daughter and on Dahlia's own unreliable point of view as the main character, DARK WATER goes one step beyond being a shot-by-shot remake and claims the story as its own.

A sequence takes place in 1974 in Seattle as young Dahlia waits for her mother to pick her up from school under the never-ending rain. A remark from a teacher sets the stage for the audience to believe that this is not a caring mother. Flash-forward to New York City in 2005, and Dahlia is now undergoing a nasty custody battle with her husband. He lives in Jersey City; she has found a place on Roosevelt Island where she can start life anew while providing for her daughter whom she dearly loves.

This apartment building, however, is not the kind of place anyone would want to move in. But times are tough, and she has little to no choice. Ceci (child actress Ariel Gade) is the first to sense something amiss in this apartment -- particularly a smudge at the corner of the bedroom -- but Dahlia has made up her mind. They move in against their better judgement... and like in all of horror movies, things start to go wrong, at first slowly, in minuscule doses. You get the hint.

One of the best things about the way DARK WATER has been made is to focus less on the horror per se and grant no "Boos!" to the audience, and establish two things: the unreliability of Dahlia's mind and her dependence on pills, compounded with her own personal demons, and her genuinely loving relationship she shares with Ceci, a girl who for once doesn't look creepy or draw ominously. For quite some time there is a notion that maybe Dahlia's husband may be behind the goings-on at 10F, the apartment above hers, but several blink or miss elements clearly establish the presence of the ghost in the machine.

The mood is closer, as a matter of fact, to the horror of REPULSION and ROSEMARY'S BABY in which a woman undergoes a progressive fragmentation of her own psyche as other people seem to know more than what she does as to what is exactly happening. Jennifer Connelly, one of the best younger actresses working today, establishes a connection with Dahlia from the first moment she enters the screen, and her descent into near-madness (which she carries throughout the entire movie) is a work of art Hitchcock would have loved. She is well supported by John C. Reilly as a slumlord, Pete Postelwhaite as a building super who looks as untrustworthy as he sounds, and Dougray Scott as Dahlia's estranged husband. Tim Roth has a neat but disturbing role as a lawyer who apparently lives out of his own car.

As a horror story, there is little of that here. It's a ghost story first and foremost, concerned with the tragedy that took place in the past which looks to reaffirm itself in the present. This is a quiet movie -- devoid of all flash and grandiosity -- and one that is very well drawn out. One of the best sequences occurs near the end, when the ghost within the building emerges in the most deceptive way, while we look and cringe in rising fear. This precedes a great suspense inducing shot of the now restored wall and ceiling as Dahlia tells Ceci a story, and tells her she'd do anything for her. Pity Dahlia didn't know these walls have eyes and ears.
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