dark water (2005)

Water. The most abundant natural resource on the planet. It flows in rivers, oceans, sinks, bathtubs; heck even 70% of your body is made out of the stuff. Without it all plant and animal life on Earth would die. However, it can also kill you. Hurricanes and tsunamis can tear apart homes and people die from drowning all the time. I'm guessing this side of water, the "dark" side of water, was what went through the head of screenwriter Koji Suzuki when he thought that water was a good subject for a horror movie. I'm sure I'm not the first person to let him know; it's not. Water is freakin water, no matter how "dark" you make it's still just water. There's absolutely nothing threatening or scary about having a leak in the ceiling of your apartment. This movie would like to think there is. Of course, it would also like to think that after all these years of horror movies we still get scared when things pop out on screen. These are the first of many mistakes made by the makers of Dark Water.

How can I say it? This movie isn't really much of anything. It would like to be frightening. Well, it's not. It would like to be dramatic. Hmmm, nope, still nothin. It would like to be moving. Sorry, no. The list goes on and on. It's the combination between a half-assed drama and a half-assed horror movie. Put them together and what do you get? The genre that I've never really believed existed in the first place called the "psychological thriller". I'm sure a few geniunely thrilling and psychologically intriguing movies have been made, but it seems that the word has turned into a label for scary movies that aren't scary. "Oh, it's supposed to be more psychological", people say when trying to defend this dreck. No, it's just a failed attempt at a horror movie, plain and simple. The film starts out like it might be promising. The opening cinematography is effectively dismal, the acting from both Jennifer Connelly and John C. Reilly is quite good (as expected), and it just seems to have the general mood one would expect in a horror movie. The rain is falling fast as the newly divorced Dahlia (Connelly) is moving to a new apartment with her daughter Ceci, played by Ariel Gade. (the acting from the two kid actresses is better than expected and it's good to see Perla Haney-Jardine from Kill Bill Vol. 2 getting more work). So the apartment's dark and spooky and the elevator doesn't work right and yadda yadda, but they buy the place anyway. If stories could take form this one would look like a giant octopus, growing a new plot-line every few minutes. There's problems with Ceci at school, a custody battle with Dahlia's husband, Dahlia's screwed up childhood, the mysterious Veck who works as a janitor, the strange family that used to live in one of the apartments, and of course, strange water leaks in the ceiling. A sub plot starts to develop with troublesome kids in the building and Dahlia's husband and it goes absolutely nowhere. Apparently it rains every day in this part of New York City; I'm serious, it does not stop raining once throughout the entire movie. The film moves along about as slow as it possibly can without putting the entire audience to sleep. This of course is another pitfall of the psychological thriller; trying to attract pseudo-intellectuals, the film moves slow, because slow means thoughtful, right? Wrong. The movie is merely delaying developements of the story to try and achieve this pace, and the film suffers. The biggest problem is that it still feels the need to try and scare us even when nothing is happening, resulting in a whole lot of "pop-out" shocks and Connelly going "oh my god!! ... oh .... oh Mr.(whatever) you scared me, I thought you were someone else!" The loud-noise-and-thing-popping-out-that-isn't-really-anything-scary-but-merely-a-cat-or-harmless-character-or-statue-face is really getting old. It's never surprising and I can safely say I don't even come close to jumping anymore. Also, how many times are they gonna do the kid with the "imaginary friend" that actually turns out to be a ghost thing? 

The ceiling leaks. It gets fixed. It leaks again. It gets fixed. Connelly freaks out. Ceiling leaks again. It gets fixed. The kid acts weird. All the other characters walk around with concerned looks on their faces for the rest of the movie. This movie is relentless in its boredom, and still the conclusion comes out of nowhere. Not only is it not at all surprising, but it basically just copies The Ring and does a much worse job. Then, suddenly about five minutes before the end comes a scene that is actually creepy, thrilling, surprising, and just plain good. though the rest of the movie is a waste of time, this scene is pretty hardcore, not gonna lie. It causes the movie to end in a way I really didn't see coming and starts shaping up to be a truly masterful tragedy. too bad they try to sugar-coat it in the final scene; it would have been a shockingly sad ending. The acting holds up well with what the actors are given. Im actually not sure what to blame the failure of the film on besides the script. Anyway, don't see Dark Water. 

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