Steve Clark (ihatemovies) wrote,

Dark Water (third viewing)

Common knowledge traces the current Japanese horror trend back to Hideo Nakata's Ring. In 1997, Ring was something new and intense for the asian horror crowd, and now almost all of the horror movies that come out of the far east bear more than a passing resemblance to it. Even American horror has started to imitate Nakata's style, ever since the rather silly Hollywood Ring remake. Nakata tried to stay away from horror for a while, but 2002 found him working with the same screenwriter, and from the same source author, as on Ring. The result was Dark Water, which has its own Hollywood remake on the way.

A woman is caught in a vicious custody battle over her five-year-old daughter. The father is trying to make it look like she's unstable and unfit for motherhood. At the same time, she moves into a new apartment with her daughter, and there's something wrong with the place. There's water dripping from the ceiling, and the tap water is filthy. A little red bag with a cartoon bunny on it seems to appear on its own up on the roof. And the woman keeps catching fleeting glimpses of a little girl in a yellow raincoat.

For a horror movie, Dark Water is certainly sentimental, but I still kind of like it. Nakata definitely knows how to build an atmosphere of dread, and the scare scenes, especially that elevator scene near the end, are pretty effective. However, the aforementioned sentimentality rears its head even in the big elevator scene, with the sappy music and everything, so the movie comes out a little uneven.

Worse than uneven is the eleven-minute epilogue that's tacked on to this thing. Not only is it unnecessary, but it also manages to be corny, boring, and sentimental to the point of absurdity. Really, it's best to skip this part.
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