Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dark Water

(2005) **1/2

Amidst a bitter divorce Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly) and her young daughter, Ceci (yeah I know, stupid name), move into to the world’s shittiest apartment on Roosevelt Island because the rent is less than $1000 and it is located near a good school. Almost immediately Dahlia notices a disgusting, black, wet stain in the corner of Ceci’s ceiling, however she is reassured by her landlord that his maintenance guy is on the case. Things rapidly go from bad to worse as this stain begins to spread. Additionally, the apartment elevator only works intermittently and the washing machines are just plain creepy. Meanwhile Ceci discovers a Hello Kitty backpack on the roof, which might have a connection to her new imaginary friend, Natasha and Dahlia keeps hearing footsteps in the vacant apartment above her, ultimately discovering that it’s practically under water because all the taps are on full blast. Is the apartment haunted? What’s the significance of all the damn water? I won’t spoil it here but the punch line is pretty underwhelming. If you’ve seen The Ring you’ve already seen a much better version of this story.

Okay I’m not a fan of dysthymic Jennifer Connelly. She has one expression, resigned ennui, which looks like this,

Here she is in The Hulk,

And A Beautiful Mind,

Smile already.
Hey listen, I’m all for exposing American audiences to J-horror but rather than remaking these movies why not just release the original source material? Okay, I understand that Americans don’t like to read subtitles or see people that don’t look like them. Idiots. “But what about The Ring?” you ask. Yes, The Ring surpassed Ringu in every respect but this is the only exception I can think of. For the most part these J-horror remakes have been tepid (e.g., The Grudge) or just plain awful (e.g., Pulse). Still if you have tons of Japanese horror films to choose from, it’s perplexing to me that Dark Water would be selected for remake. Quite frankly the original was pretty damn dull and the story could’ve been told in 30 minutes or less. The same could be said for the remake. Despite a bleak ending (good), most of the film involved a lot of shots of water (bad) and Jennifer Connelly looking serious (see above). Also it’s completely unrealistic that Connelly would move into this decrepit apartment with her little girl. Within two seconds of walking into this place you would recoil in horror. Seriously an outhouse would be a more hospitable dwelling. Unless you’re really in the mood for a glacially-paced movie, skip Dark Water.


Octopunk said...

Hmm. I was going to revisit the original and then see this one later in the 'thon, but I think I'll take your advice this time and, you know, not.

I hear you on the J-horror imports. I was very surprised and disappointed when they released Ju-on over here to such a tepid response, both from audiences and critics. What's annoying me about it today is this feeling I have that U.S. audiences feel they need a certain level of gloss in their movies. Beyond who's in it or how telegraphed the scares are (cue that mashed keyboard!), I look at the dinky little nothing-special Japanese rooms which the J-horror characters inhabit and think most people here would be blocked from enjoying the movie just because of those settings. Idiots.

Summerisle said...

I think you guys are too hard on Ringu.

Summerisle said...

Those pictures of Jennifer Connolly are really funny. She should do a screwball comedy with Tom Arnold to try and ditch that image.

Octopunk said...

I wasn't talking about Ringu!

Although in that case I'm probably guilty of exactly what I'm talking about. Having seen Ring first, I was disappointed when the climactic scene took place in such a confined space. Of course another reason for my reaction was that The Ring was WAY BETTER.

JPX said...


Octopunk said...

After looking at that top picture several times, I gotta say: the look on that little girl's face, combined with her posture -- it cracks me up. Such cartoony disappointment.