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Overall Rating
2.79

Awesome: 3.57%
Worth A Look: 26.79%
Average: 25%
Pretty Bad33.93%
Total Crap: 10.71%

6 reviews, 20 user ratings


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Dark Water (2005)
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by Erik Childress

"Amateur Creepy Wet Girls Vol. 9"
2 stars

I guess it would be too much to hope that the latest remake of an export from Japan would offer something different. We’re at the point where Peter Venkman could take his professional, paranormal, investigating eliminators over there, if Scarlett Johansson wasn’t too much of a distraction, and find enough work to start up franchises. Aren’t we sick of ghostly little wet girls creeping out new homeowners? Haven’t we learned that when everything is seemingly over in these stories, there’s always a second denouement that is usually more anti-climactic than the first? In all fairness, Motorcycle Diaries director Walter Salles and his screenwriter, Rafael Yglesias (Fearless, From Hell), have steered Dark Water in the direction of a domestic drama, but something keeps jerking the wheel back to the same old weak spookshow.

Babysitting a schizophrenic math genius and a gamma-infested scientist with anger management issues has finally gotten the better of Jennifer Connelly and she’s starting to go a little crazy herself. OK, so its just the character she’s playing named Dahlia who grew up with some serious deadbeat mommy issues and is determined to be one to her daughter in the way she never had. At present, she’s going through a rather high-decibel divorce with hubby, Kyle (Dougray Scott); problems which are intensified with her choice of area codes.

Her limited income brings her to a run-down complex, sold with sleazy perfection by realtor Mr. Murray (John C. Reilly). Managed by a gruff, lazy super (Pete Postlethwaite) named Veeck (as in “wreck”), it becomes clear that running water will hardly be a problem. What is of concern (and here’s a surprise) is the imaginary friend little Ceci (Ariel Gade) has started communicating with. Oh, and that leaky ceiling which the movie will try to convince us is anything but a metaphor.

The movie only has us posing a handful of questions and we can generally answer them just as quickly. Is there a great mystery buried within these apartments? Is there more to the motivations of two resident punks (about the only other tenants we ever see)? Or is Dahlia finally giving a slow-building psychosis a place to roost? If you care about any of those queries, then this is clearly your first sampling a remade Asian ghost flick and as first impressions go, your first may be to take a nap.

As ghost tales go, Dark Water is a semi-mediocre domestic drama. Ghastly scare scenes or an agonizing dread that makes you fear for somebody (ANYBODY) are replaced by character pecadillos and marriage counseling. After a while you’ll start wondering why they needed ghosts at all to tell this story or try to convince us it might not have anything to do with ghosts at all when in the first 15 minutes the filmmakers make it clear there's someone else in the elevator. It may not be as stimulating but the performances make it far more interesting why we await less eagerly for a resolution that would be completely anti-climactic if it weren’t for the second anti-climax that stands out like a pre-scripted reshoot.

Familiarity comes into play too frequently for us to take much of Dark Water seriously and unless there’s enough to start measuring in leagues, H2O just isn’t that menacing. In fact, a film school teacher would point out the symbolism of its lifeforce rather than a cautious threat. Oscar-winner Connelly continues her look-at-the-floor approach to searching out a viable emotion. Reilly is perfectly sleazy as the don’t-ask-I-won’t-tell agent, but the real treasure in the film is Tim Roth as a lawyer brought in late in the proceedings to mediate Dahlia’s marital strife. Practically a self-contained law office in his car, Roth is a fascinating character that we instantly respond to. We believe his lawyer-with-a-heart-of-gold and there’s a silent connection he shares with Dahlia, surmised in a touching final moment with his phone, that we wish this actually was a domestic drama with a screenplay that found more room for him.

The Japanese auteurs better start finding new ways to scare people and American horror geeks need to stop overpraising these exports like they are somehow reinventing the boo like a piece of electronic equipment. They are being churned out like an assembly line and no one has had the discipline to point out the faults. Your Rings and Grudges and Spirals and Creepy Water Nymphs outdated themselves the moment you started to remake the same films. Remakes on top of remakes are only exposing them for how little depth they have no matter how deep the water gets. Gore Verbinski’s version of The Ring found a timely subtext to the story of the videotape virus and it elevated a routine spookshow into something potent and lasting. Dark Water is a been-there-done-that-over-again-rince-repeater whose true ghosts are the memory of what its copying.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12566&reviewer=198
originally posted: 07/08/05 15:02:08
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Horror Remakes: For more in the Horror Remakes series, click here.

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell skip it 1 stars
11/26/08 Leo T not bad, love to watch Jennifer Connelly in a wet tshit tho 2 stars
4/16/08 Jack Sommersby Limp, lumbersome and uninvolving to boot. 1 stars
3/30/07 fools♫gold Old-school ghost story, but you can find a better one. 2 stars
12/05/06 Stanley Thai A really good suspense thriller. Connelly gives a great performance. 4 stars
2/18/06 Indrid Cold The acting and direction are great but the story is scattered and unsatisfying. 3 stars
12/30/05 othree Jennifer Connelly = Great! Dark Water = Sucks all bland ass... no really ...zZZ 2 stars
10/28/05 chris not a bad movie 4 stars
10/20/05 PAG Above average. 4 stars
10/11/05 Tom Burns Not very good. Their was no scares what so ever. 2 stars
9/29/05 Stephanie Throckmorton Chaotic! Was Natasha good or evil? What killed Dahlia? Gad! 2 stars
7/28/05 Obi Wan Worst movie I've seen this summer! 1 stars
7/26/05 manuel I was disappointed 2 stars
7/14/05 Pete Bleakly shot, stunning cast and a horrific ending, the way remakes should be - better 5 stars
7/12/05 Obi Wan Worst movie I've seen in mayb last 3-4 years. SUCKED ..BAD!! Can I give a 0? 1 stars
7/12/05 Anne This film was more surprising than scary and some parts of it were HILARIOUS. 2 stars
7/11/05 Caiphn Slow, boring, uninspired. No suspense, no scares. Came very close to leaving. 1 stars
7/11/05 8=====D stupid 1 stars
7/09/05 Kankasaur Induces ripples of laughter rather than goosebumps 3 stars
7/08/05 dan Very creepy movie and jennifer connelly wet... i loved it 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  08-Jul-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 26-Dec-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  20-Oct-2005




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