Dark Water


Dark Water

Critics Consensus

All the atmospherics in Dark Water can't make up for the lack of genuine scares.



Total Count: 154


Audience Score

User Ratings: 154,815
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Dark Water Photos

Movie Info

Directed by Walter Salles Jr., this remake of Hideo Nakata's supernatural psychological drama Honogurai Mizuno Soko Kara revolves around the plight of a single mother (Jennifer Connelly) whose messy divorce and subsequent battle for the custody of her five-year-old daughter is taking a heavy toll on her emotional well-being. Ultimately, the mother and daughter are able to relocate to an apartment, which, despite its excessively dilapidated interior, seems to be an adequate location for beginning a new life. Before long, however, what appears to be the spirit of a young girl begins to haunt them. No stranger to mental illness, the wary young woman brushes the visions aside as part of the inherent stress of making the transition from housewife to working, single mom. As time goes by and the apparent haunting does not subside, the apartment's new residents are forced to examine the history of its former tenants. Dark Water also features performances from John C. Reilly, Tim Roth, and Dougray Scott. ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi

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John C. Reilly
as Mr. Murray
Tim Roth
as Jeff Platzer
Perla Haney-Jardine
as Natasha/Young Dahlia
Linda Emond
as Mediator
Debra Monk
as Young Dahlia's Teacher
Bill Buell
as Mediator
J.R. Horne
as Man in Tram
Elina Löwensohn
as Dahlia's Mother
Warren Belle
as UPS Man
Alison Sealy-Smith
as Radiology Clinic Supervisor
Simon Reynolds
as Man in Elevator
Kate Hewlett
as Teacher's Aide
Diego Fuentes
as Night Doorman
Zoe Heath
as Natasha's Mother
as Platzer's Backseat Client
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News & Interviews for Dark Water

Critic Reviews for Dark Water

All Critics (154) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (72) | Rotten (82)

  • This dank, dark and disturbing psychological horror film is a remake of a Hideo Nakata chiller, but the film it most evokes is Roman Polanski's Repulsion, another tale of mental instability and bad real estate.

    Mar 14, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • Dark Water is a failure as a horror movie.

    Jul 19, 2005 | Rating: 2/5

    Nev Pierce

    Top Critic
  • It fails to deliver the narrative thrill twists its origins would promise.

    Jul 12, 2005 | Full Review…
  • Like so many recent thrillers of this ilk, many of them in some way exploiting the 'innocence' of childhood -- the dumb and unpleasant Hide and Seek springs to mind -- Dark Water falls apart in the wind-down.

    Jul 8, 2005
  • A tasteful but unremitting bummer and yet one more case of an Oscar-winning actress proving that she can still do the kinds of disposable movies big awards are supposedly meant to banish from your résume forever.

    Jul 8, 2005 | Full Review…
  • Dark Water has more substance and a more interesting look than many horror films, but the familiar elements of the story disappoint.

    Jul 8, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Claudia Puig

    USA Today
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Dark Water

  • Sep 28, 2013
    At last, people, we come face-to-face with the pressing question that I know has haunted the minds of psychological thriller fans the world over: ...what about the story of water inside the well in "The Ring"? ...Okay, well, that ironic joke was too far out there to work, but the point is that this is more-or-less "The Ring", except the antagonist is one seriously aggravating leak. Hey, if anyone can make it work, it's the Japs, but then again, these aren't the Japs we're talking about, but rather a Japanese expression of horror artistry interpreted by Americans who just have to work in the forced scares that, well, at least keep this film from getting dull. Granted, I didn't see the Japanese film upon which this Americanization is based, but if I know films of this type like I think I know films of this type, that good ol' Asian thriller atmosphere couldn't have exactly been too thrilling, and it doesn't help that, again, this film is about water, for goodness' sake. No, there's a fair bit of meat to this premise, or at least more meat than originality, and plus, I already find intrigue in Jennifer Connelly's hanging out with Tim Roth, because it always gives me hope that the Betty Ross from 2003's bad "Hulk" and the Abomination from 2008's decent "The Incredible Hulk" will lure out Eric Bana and Edward Norton so that an actor as phenomenal as Norton can stand next to Bana and finally allow people to make the revelation that Bana can't act... even though this film came out a few years before this film. Yes, I make stretches, but that's just because there's only to much that's thrilling about this thriller, which is still not too shabby, and certainly more exciting than 2003's "Hulk". Sorry, Ang Lee, Taiwan's sweetheart, but the ability to make dull thrillers doesn't appear to be isolated just within the Japanese part of Asia, whereas Brazilians, like this film's Walter Salles, can make some pretty decent thrillers, and yet, some elements of this film still feel "watered" down (At least it's not as forced as my other jokes in this opener). This is a minimalist thriller whose conflict should have only so much build-up, and whose other dramatic elements should have only so much prominence, and once you take that into account, a runtime nearing 110 minutes doesn't sound that tight anymore, and it sure doesn't feel tight, being achieved in this film partly through plot structure dragging that stretch exposition and filler out to an aimless extent, made all more palpable by limpness in atmospheric pacing. The film is never dull, but it does get to be pretty bland when atmosphere doesn't have driving material upon which to thoroughly meditate, challenging tension through pacing issues, as well as through subtlety issues. This is a very atmospheric, almost arty type of dramatic horror film, so subtlety is certainly recommended, yet not always delivered, as this film will tell you, handling its more dramatic angles with a touch too much emphasis on character core for the human drivers of this thriller to not feel somewhat like types, while handling the scares with particular questionability, meditating much too much on build-ups that end up having no pay-off, so much so that, after a while, the film becomes too occupied with fake-outs than actual conflict. Intensity's presence helps in getting the film by as quite decent, maybe even generally effective, but it's limited, much like the level intensity of plenty of other slightly lazy thrillers of this type, which isn't to say that tension limitations is the only familiar trait that slows down this film's momentum. There's something rather under-inspired about this film's story concept, and if nothing else reflects that, it's the conventionalism, or rather, the genericism, because this thriller isn't simply filled with tropes, it's driven by tropes, which plague major plot point after major plot point until you find a heavy kick of predictability that a film this driven by ambiguity cannot afford to face. The film drags its way to predictable heights, and that reflects a glaring laziness that really cuts the tension down in this film, which has enough going for it to stand as decent, with glimpses of relative strength, but not enough for the final product to not bland its way to undwerwhelmingness. This thriller stands to thrill more, but it stays, if you will, "afloat" on the wings of endearing elements, some of which can even be found in the stylistic areas of this thriller whose roots rest in the field of art horror. Perhaps better known as a favorite of David Lynch, atmospheric score composer Angelo Badalamenti contributes to this film a run-of-the-mill, but cleverly subtle score whose lovely, sparse intensity that fits the heart of this sparse thriller almost as much as Affonso Beato's cinematography, which isn't consistently striking or unique, but boasts harsh coloration and bleak lighting that sometimes stun and frequently compliment tone. Even on a stylistic level, this film is hardly anything unique, but at least the artistic value of this film has the good sense of taking from good sources, looking about as good as your usual film of this type and having some substance to back up the value of the style. Again, this is a familiar and sometimes manipulative dramatic thriller that even goes so far as to really underplay its conflict, but there is still a fair bit of intrigue to this film, as both a drama and ghost story, boasting a human core and some ambiguities whose predictability and sparseness undercut full depth, but cannot completely cleanse this somewhat promising horror drama of meat, at least not when challenged by highlights in direction. Now, Walter Salles' direction isn't all that special, and often fairly flawed, particularly when it gets carried away with its struggling to build up the atmosphere in this thriller that conceptually doesn't play with thrills all that much, though most of the final product's good deal of problems may very well be the doing of Rafael Yglesias' draggy and formulaic script, because where the predictability and aimlessness of this thriller with limited thrills could have driven the final product into mediocrity, Salles helps in keeping things going with an atmosphere that never loses so much kick that sparseness descends into dullness, and is sometimes genuinely effective in establishing a hint of tension, which really pumps up when the film finally gets around to playing up its conflict. It's a long, long, long time before intensity really kicks in, but Salles, partly through some engaging dramatic bite, keeps you going through all of the dragging, until the fan gets a serious smacking and wakes you up a bit, and while that formula isn't too compelling, Salles' noble efforts endear in breathing some life into this drama. However, the film is so meditative upon very little that it's going to take more than just effective highlights to really carry the decency of this film, and that's where Jennifer Connelly comes in, because even though most everyone is pretty good, if not strong in this ensemble piece, Connelly, as the central focus of this very limp thriller, keeps intrigue alive in spite of all of the thrill shortcomings, utilizing subtle dramatic layers in order to sell the anguish of a woman scarred by a loveless childhood, and plagued in adulthood by fear over doing wrong by her own daughter, and over some seriously bizarre happenings that threaten her on multiple levels. If nothing else, or rather, no one else keeps you from forgetting the conflicts in this limp dramatic thriller, it's Connelly, whose inspired performance holds you over until heights in storytelling come into play, which isn't to say that engagement value ever slips too much for the final product to lose its grip on decency, no matter how much it goes shaken by considerable storytelling issues. When things have all dried up, exhausting dragging in plotting, subtlety issues - particularly within the often fake-out-driven scares - and serious genericism could have drowned out decency with dulling mediocrity, but there is ultimately enough tastefulness to score work and cinematography, weight to the story concept, atmospheric effectiveness to direction, and inspiration to Jennifer Connelly's driving lead performance for Walter Salles' "Dark Water" to stand as a generally intriguing and sometimes effective dramatic thriller, even if it does take its sweet time to pick up its feet. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Aug 19, 2013
    I didn't expect to be so heart broken by the ending. It's an okay movie I guess, idk, I was a bit sleepy when I watched it.
    Cita W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2012
    a mess of a film and one that seems to think boring the audience helps. the overall conclusion is a slap in the face, especially after the duration of the film.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Sep 28, 2011
    While the tone and atmosphere of the movie are pleasingly eerie, the plot comes off as amateurish and the movie isn't really scary.
    Matt P Super Reviewer

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