Dark Water movie poster
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Dark Water movie poster

Dark Water Movie Review

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Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune calls "Dark Water" a "shocker with something extra." Roger Ebert says "we're never quite sure how all the parts of the mystery fit together." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says it "unleashes a torrent of suspense for one purpose: to plumb the violence of the mind." My question: What kind of drugs were these critics on when they reviewed this God-awful film?

"Dark Water" beats out "The Ring Two" as the worst horror movie of the year thus far, because, frankly, it has no horror. Some professional critics like the ones listed above seem to revel in the fact that if a horror movie has less horror and more drama, it qualifies as a better film. If a movie does not fulfill its purpose - a horror movie is meant to scare the living daylights out of you, whether through psychological suspense or shock value - then it does not qualify as a good film. This movie, yet another pointless remake of a Japanese flick, is one of the lamest, and, pun intended, watered-down horror movie ever to grace the big screen.

"Dark Water" follows Dahlia, played by the beautiful Jennifer Connelly, as she moves her young daughter into a crumby apartment building to get away from her ex-husband. Sure, the apartment is a piece of crap and she somehow fails to see the giant water stain on the ceiling of her daughter's bedroom before putting down a deposit, but it's only two blocks from a good school. But, as soon as they move in, weird things begin to happen - namely, sounds and water appear to be coming from the apartment above, even though no one lives there. To top it off, her daughter, played by the adorable Ariel Gade, has developed an imaginary friend, and we all know what that means.

This is one of those movies where you sit there patiently for quite a while expecting the movie to get scary any second. Director Walter Salles, in his English-language debut, teases the audience with a few non-scares. You think he's building suspense, so you sit there quietly waiting for the next scene. And then he teases again without anything happening. And again. And again. And then, suddenly, a horrifying thing happens - the end credits begin to roll and you realize you maybe were scared once the entire movie, and not a single damn thing happened. "Dark Water" could have had a cool twist ending that would have brought all the psychological elements of the film together, but instead it just ends with a generic, non-interesting "climax" that amounts to nothing more than a brief encounter with a ghost.

To cap everything off, we've already seen this movie before - and that was "The Ring Two." You see, the director of the Japanese version of "Dark Water" was also the director of "The Ring Two," and he used the plot for "Dark Water" in "The Ring Two." Sure, the circumstances are different, but the plot remains the same: an evil or mean-spirited ghost just wants a mother, so she tries to possess a living child. The ghost is scared of water (guess how she died), and the mother must decide how far she should go to save her only kid.

In retrospect, "Dark Water" handles this story much better than "The Ring Two." It isn't cheesy and the characters are much more interesting. The acting is a lot better. The ending is also more fulfilling than that of "The Ring Two," but... "Dark Water" is a thousand times more boring. "The Ring Two" was cheesy, stupid and ridiculous, but it had one or two scares and was at least mildly entertaining throughout parts (at least you could laugh at it). "Dark Water" is just boring, without any kind of real plot or interesting developments.

Avoid "Dark Water" at all costs. On a good day it'll simply make you want to shoot yourself. On a bad day, you'll tie a big rock to your leg and try to drown yourself. Yes, suicide would be more fun.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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