Dark Water (2002)

Sex :
Violence :
Director Hideo Nakata
Writers Hideo Nakata
Starring Hitomi Kuroki, Rio Kanno
Genre Revenant
Tagline From the Director of "Ringu"


Recently divorced Matsubabra moves into a crumbling apartment building with her six year old daughter Ikuko. Once settled in Matsubabra faces a growing water leak issue in the ceiling, her chain smoking dropkick ex, and the possibility that the building may harbour a dark and dangerous secret.

When things go pear shaped in Japanese horror you better batten down the hatches. Yo Sadako we have a new playmate for yay. Let's grab our rain coats and dive on in the water's fine .....

Director Nakata has gone all out in this water logged ghost story. You get the full gambit of his abilities shining on through in what looks to be a fairly low budget outing. Some really strange camera angles, nice use of filters in parts, and some of the best used of water as a motif ever seen. Simply put, l was blown away by the look and feel of Dark Water.

Nakata has the track cam working for him here, and really puts the chill factor into it's use. You get the feeling some one is looking on as Matsubabra tries to resolve what's going down. Equally Nakata uses shots through doorways and windows to not only frame his sequences, but to heighten the dark happenings of the movie.

A lot of viewers may find the movie somewhat slow in it's build up to the climax, but what the heck go and grab something with a car chase in it instead. Dark Water is more your rush of cold air, ghostly appearances, mysterious footsteps, and enigmatic shadows than a hitech blood-a-thon. If you can get through the majority of the movie the pay off will have you wide eyed and bushy tailed.

I'm not saying there's no screams along the way to the conclusion. Nakata somehow manages to make water puddles and stains on the roof fairly intimidating. The Director however steps more into drama with supernatural undertones for the majority of his movie, before going one step beyond in the final 20 minutes. The whole sub plot of abandonment and history repeating itself had me glued to the screen. Add in the custody battle raging away, and you have a movie which develops it's characters and makes you feel for them. The final wash up hit me in the head like a sledgehammer as l liked the lead characters.

Hitomi Kuroki (Matsubabra) rang all my bells and then some. Okay the movie is subtitled, but you really get into her character over the course of the 100 odd minutes of movie running time. Nakata's focus is on Matsubabra extensively and Kuroki presents a strange compelling performance which does full justice to her extended screen time.

And isn't Rio Kanno (Ikuko) a cutie-pie. A well aimed and honest performance had me worried about what might be going down during the course of the film. Kanno holds her own with the grown ups and resonants with the viewer through out.

Kenji Kawai and Shikao Suga deliver a chilling soundtrack which fits Nakata's mood and feeling. Dudes get to Hollywood and show em how to do things. Excellent job!

Nakata once again proves why he is Japan's leading horror Director. The whole package he delivers with Dark Water is almost in the realms of art and shows how to use colour effectively. I was simply in awe of this movie from the first frame to the last frame. The movie doesn't lag anywhere, has good character development, and delivers on the chills like a wild night out in Bangkok. A breath of humid air in the often times jaded genre of horror.

Do yourself a favour, sprint down Blockbuster and get a copy right now! Highly recommended movie which will impress the pants off ya. Thank you Eastern Eye for the disk, l'll certainly be checking into your catalog over the coming months.

For this bath time fun l would suggest scoring some tempura and a couple of shapiros. Drink straight from the bottle and use chop sticks. I would also be checking the plumbing before putting this ghost story into the player, it may save the need for a new pair of undies.

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

  Hideo Nakata rocks the house down.