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Overall Rating

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 William Goss

"Dark Fodder"
2 stars

Director Walter Salles ('The Motorcycle Diaries') helms yet another American adaptation of a Japanese horror hit, and while he brings a more poetic and personal perspective to the subgenre, the plot and tone of 'Dark Water' are much too muddled for him and the cast to save.

In the midst of a bitter custody dispute, Dahlia Williams (Jennifer Connelly) decides to relocate to a run-down yet affordable apartment with her daughter, Ceci (Ariel Gade). Soon, a recurring leak from the abandoned apartment above is accompanied by strange voices and other mysterious occurances, and it is up to Dahlia to discover what's hidden beneath Dark Water.

Jennifer Connelly contributes the strongest performance as Dahlia, a determined mother with a troubled past of her own. Ariel Gade, who plays Ceci, is mercifully tolerable in the typical role of a child who communicates with the dead. John C. Reilly casts his eager-to-please routine in an effective new light as the manipulative realtor. There is also Pete Postlethwaite as a cranky super with an awkward accent, and Tim Roth makes an appearance as Dahlia's deceiving lawyer (quit snickering).

While each of these actors contribute fine work, they still can't salvage the convoluted plot. The film follows the traditional 'slow burn' pacing of its overseas counterparts, but then a rushed third act tries to turn the tide towards the dramatic. Salles foreshadows like it's going out of style, but the conclusion is easily predictable, seeing as it's basically the same ending as many similar films. (Surprise: The author behind the Japanese original of this film also wrote the novel that became The Ring.)

One of the biggest factors that dooms this movie is its misleading publicity campaign. The dilemma parallels that of March's The Jacket. The advertisements tout a horror film that audiences will never see. The scariest thing about Water is how scary it isn't. There aren't even the 'boo' jump-scares of The Grudge, nor is there a steady creep-out a la The Ring. If anything, it's more along the lines of a psychological drama, but even then, it's an thriller lacking thrills.

Salles covers all bases of maternal paranoia in his effort to create tension. Child abandonment is the most recurring theme in the story, and as Dahlia's past begins to haunt her, the reliability of the lead begins to evaporate. Nonetheless, a strong cast and effective atmosphere cannot make up for the unrewarding characterization, school of red herrings, and frequent genre-shifting. While 'Dark Water' may run wide, it sure doesn't run deep.

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originally posted: 10/25/05 15:08:32
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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
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  08-Jul-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 26-Dec-2005



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