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on March 2, 2017
This is an amazing movie. The subtly of the horror means its "real" horror (the last place you'd want to know a dead body was) and not just bad actors in makeup. The acting is superb and I don't know why people complained at the back plot, it's woven into the ghost story-just having the horror story is what makes many of these movies incomprehensible, here you know why things are happening. The main character is a very gentle vulnerable woman which, of course, adds to the whole thing. The grimy, decaying concrete apartment block is a great addition. A sad, poignant ghost story with some horror overtones. I loved it.
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on May 18, 2017
Loved every minute of it! That's my kind of Japanese horror!
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on October 21, 2017
Great original movie to watch so thanks. s.k.
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on October 26, 2017
classic Japanese horror
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I have gotten to the point in watching horror films that when I watched the American production "Dead Birds" I was wondering if this was another adaptation of a Japanese horror film. Apparently the Japanese approach to the genre, which has become well established on this side of the Pacific because of the success of "The Ring" (nee "Ringu") and "The Grudge" (nee "Ju-on"). However, with "Dark Water" ("Honogurai mizu no soko kara") I found myself thinking how different this 2002 effort from director Hideo Nakata (who did the "Ringu" films) from contemporary American efforts in a different way. Too many American horror films go the route of "Jeepers Creepers," where there is a pretty good set up and then the film goes down hill and the payoff is disappointing in the extreme. But with "Dark Water" I was not overly captivated by the set up, but found that the payoff really hit home.

At this point let me warn you that when you start watching "Dark Water" on DVD it goes right into the dubbed English track, at which point I start having flashes back to all of the badly dubbed Japanese movies I grew up on (which inevitably leads to thoughts of Woody Allen's "What's Up Tiger Lily?"). My strong recommendation is to stop the film and make sure you have the original Japenese language track and the English captions. Fans of the horror genre should be at the point where they can appreciate the natural language and rhythm of Japanese cast. Most of the key sequences here do not require you to do a lot of reading so it is not a great sacrifice and the nuances of the culture are totally lost in the dubbed version.

Yoshimi Matsubara (Hitomi Kuroki) has divorced her husband and is in a custody battle for her six year old daughter, Ikuko (Rio Kanno). In an attempt to make a new start, mother and daughter move into an apartment, where strange things start happening. The weirdest are the huge water stains that appear on the ceiling and start dripping away and the red children's bag that start popping up every place Yoshimi goes. Then the dead child to whom the bag belongs starts showing up as well. So we have what we would now be thinking of as your basic Japanese ghost story. But there is a bit more going on here as well.

You see, Yoshimi has some trouble being a working mom. She needs a job to survive, and too often Ikuko gets lost in the shuffle, which sometimes means the kids is left standing outside her kindergarten waiting for her mother when all of the other kids have left. As you would anticipate, there is an attendant irony in this as well. But the pressure is getting to Yoshimi who thinks that she is slowly going insane, which works well given all of the above. Characters in these sorts of movies often get so scared that they might go insane, complete with wild eyes and mad cackling, but you do not have them questioning their sanity as often.

"Dark Water" is a less complicated and more subtle horror story than "The Ringu," which is the obvious point of comparison since Nakata and his co-screenwriter Takashige Ichise did both films (the story here is from a novel by Kôji Suzuki. So it is inevitable that this film seems a lesser effort, but that does not really take away from its effectiveness. When we got to the conclusion I found that I liked what happened, and when the inevitable epilogue reinforced the fact, I liked it even more. I do not think this is a great horror film, but I think it is a solid one and I certainly liked it more than the original "Ju-on."
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on March 1, 2016
One of my all time favorite horror movies that tends to get lot in the Japanese Horror genre. I think it's better than the Grudge and the Ring. It proves that a broken heart is the most terrifying force in the world.
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on August 10, 2005
This film is not a blood all over the walls, guts on the floor, and boogeymen lunging out of every closet in the house type of movie. Dark Water achieves it's unsettling flavor of horror with excellent pacing, involving characters, and spooky settings. The story builds itself up slowly, inching it's way into your mind, leaving small pieces of nightmarish shadows in each little nugget. This movie is a breath of fresh air for horror fans tired of teens in peril movies. I for one really don't care if UNTALENTED people like Paris ho Hilton gets hacked to bits in a movie. I want a real film not tripe thrown together for 15 year olds. The recent string of Japenese horror films are bright, mature, and inventive. Ringu and Ju-on the two other recent ones made into American versions are also excellent. I have not yet seen the remake of Dark Water and don't have high hopes for it. The Ring was good, but the Grudge was AWFUL. I recommend this film for mature and patient horror fans, not for those who want screaming demons spitting bile in the first 30 seconds. Dark Water is a great find, I recommend it without reserve.
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on April 6, 2015
Good and spooky. A bit different from the American version, which is good and keeps things suspenseful. Not quite as scary as Juon, but still an enjoyable time spent watching.
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on May 23, 2016
Decent little ghost story. Not gruesome or gory, not traumatizing. A movie that builds up slowly and delivers a decent story. I enjoyed it.
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on September 3, 2012
What started as an oddly compelling story about a domestic problem (a custody battle), eventually, and by eventually I mean 90 minutes or so, eventually turns into a brief but devastating haunting. The problem with this is that I was expecting a horror movie, at the very least a ghost story. When the ghost is coy and rarely seen, I don't count that as much of a fright. Most of the movie was spent demonstrating just how neurotic a mother can get when faced with losing her child, getting a new job, and moving into a less than attractive apartment. Watching this woman struggle to maintain her composure while coping with the usual adversities of life was one thing, shoving a ghost into the mix at the last minute proved to be more than just the last straw. It came across as an odd afterthought instead of the main focus. If this was truly a ghost story than why was the filmmaker so stingy when it came to showing that aspect of the story? For me it was a case of far too little, too late. (To make matters worse, they tacked on a postscript titled ten years later, or what the ghost(s) are up to now.)

The scariest thing in this movie was watching the mother's gradual meltdown.
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