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Dark Water
Release Date: July 8th, 2005 (wide)
Length: 1 Hr. 44 Min.
Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic material, frightening sequences, disturbing images and brief language.
Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Starring: Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Tim Roth, Dougray Scott, Pete Postlethwaite

Directed by: Walter Salles
Produced by: Ashley Kramer, Bill Mechanic, Roy Lee
Written by: Rafael Yglesias, Koji Suzuki

Official Website


Reviewed by Scott Jeffries
Reviewer Rating:


( Dark Water )

The true horror that you experience is not by the sight of blood, but by the thought that you are not alone- there is someone constantly following, looking, intruding. The fear of losing your own control is what scares most people.

That is why Japanese films are doing wonders in the horror genre as the fear created is much more psychological in nature than physical. Walter Salles made Dark Water- a film adapted from a Japanese one. He tapped into this hugely spooky quotient and made a great movie.

The movie is about a newly divorced and unemployed woman named Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly) who has still not come to terms with her bitter divorce and is fighting fiercely to win custody of her young daughter Ceci (Ariel Gade). In desperation, she is forced to look at apartments, seedy ones in lower Manhattan. Here, she comes across one which is sold by a very persuasive agent to her. She realizes that the place is not exactly a palace, but she does not have much choice. Although Ceci resists moving to the place, she gives her ready consent after exploring the building terrace on her own.

Once they move in, there are a lot of weird things that happen in the whole building. Something very peculiar is the constant leeks that seem to materialize out of nowhere. But then things start getting more intense when Dahlia realizes that there are spirits of little children still haunting the apartment building.

The best part about the movie is that the ghosts are spooky, not really scary I’ll-kill-you types. They look lost and scared themselves, which creeps you out even more. Its like they are searching for some affection, someone to tell them that its going to be okay, but you surely don’t want to be that person.

The cast is perfect for the film. As a recently divorced, troubled woman, Connelly has done an amazing job- she’s in the best form ever. As the young daughter, Gade does a very convincing role. She does not really understand the whole concept of ghosts and her approach to the situation is very endearing. The supporting cast- the agent, the divorce lawyer, the ex- husband…all do a great job. Pete Postelthwaite as the handyman deserves special mention for his superbly convincing and wonderful performance as a temperamental and at times weird handyman.

The setting of the film- the environment has also been done very well. The area that majority of the film has been shot in is very grey and depressing. All that you can see is identical apartment buildings which are a gloomy grey. Even when you look from the terrace, you can see only overcast grey skies. Its always raining in the movie- this helps to create the mood; dark, wet and uncomfortable. The whole set up lends to the build up to the end.

All in all, a good film that disturbs you and makes you think about it long after you have finished watching it- what more can a horror film ask for?

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