Dark Water - Scary dripping water?

Duration: 105min
Category: Thriller
Available: On DVD
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The trailers for Dark Water are somewhat confounding. It seems that the movie is about a leak in an apartment. Oooh! There is a big water stain on the roof in the bedroom. Eventually, the apartment floor is flooded. Scary!?! Is this a horror movie or an insurance claim?

I figured with the calibre of names involved in this project, it wasn't going to just be a throw away bad gimmick thriller. The director Walter Salles is the acclaimed film maker behind The Motorcycle Diaries and Central Station. The cast includes John C Reilly, Pete Postlethwaite, Tim Roth and the wonderful Jennifer Connelly. Therefore the film must be good.

I have had a bit of a crush on Jennifer Connelly since 1986 when I saw Labyrinth in the mid 80s. However it wasn't until about 5 years ago that she started making really good films and demonstrating her presence as an actor. After her breath taking performance in The House of Sand and Fog, I was quite excited to see her latest.

As Dark Water began to roll, I was feeling fairly confident. The film actually starts really well. Salles sets up the scene nicely using Hitchcock's minimalist approach which I appreciate in a good thriller. We see just enough to learn what we need to and get hooked into the characters. The scene is moody without being too over the top. The constant rain evokes the right feeling of melancholy.

However, slowly (and I mean very slowly) Dark Water starts to sink into mediocrity. The story drags and starts to bring in too many thriller clichés. About an hour in you start to see it all piece together without too many surprises. However I kept telling myself that this was all smoke and mirrors. There was going to be a big payoff. Something I didn't see coming.

Well, it never arrived. The film wrapped up pretty much exactly like you would imagine. At the end, the movie credits a Japanese horror film as its inspiration and I am not surprised. Like The Ring or The Grudge, the themes of Dark Water are basic and predictable. However, unlike the Japanese originals, there isn't enough style to generate any real sense of fear. The question seems to be, why do the Japanese think things like video tapes and water leaking through the ceiling are scary?

Dark Water ends up disappointing by being very standard. Salles and company try to make more of this film than there is but in the end it's forgettable. Water leaking, while a big pain in the ass, really isn't that scary.

Review By: Collin Smith

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