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Dark Water
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Dark Water (2002)

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Plot Summary:
"After winning a custody battle for her daughter Hitomi tries to make a new start. The apartment she moves into seems perfect at first. Soon though, strange things begin happening. Huge water stains appear on the ceiling and drip constantly, more liquid oozing into the rooms every day. She calls the landlord in but he refuses to do anything about it. A childs red bag shows up in odd places and soon the child herself starts appearing. Hitomi then discovers the origin of the ghost."

Reviewer: Tariq Rafiq @horrorasylum
Location:South Bucks, UK
Review Date: 13 August 2004 My Rating: out of 5


From the director of 'Ringu', the original Japanese version of 'The Ring', comes this superior psychological horror film.

A young single mother and her 5-year old daughter move into an apartment block that has a sinister history to it. Supernatural events are occurring and apparitions being seen, all somehow linked to the dripping water that is everywhere.

This is what a horror film should be about. This is not only a great horror film but also a great story about single parenthood. It is the situation and relationship between the mother and daughter that is an integral part of the film. If we do not care about them then the atmosphere of fear and terror would not exist.

There are some truly terrifying moments in this film that rely on psychological drama rather than cheap close-ups of a hand or loud noise to make you jump. You do not feel cheated at all as the situations that create fear in the characters and the audience are all valid ones. There are no blond high school bimbos running around in a short skirt and wet tee shirt constantly wandering directly into danger just to further the story along. (Hmmm, putting it down in words, that image isn't as unappealing as I thought it would be.)

This is a well thought out piece of cinema in which, although it is quite slow moving and little actually happens, you are never bored or uninterested. The tension created is extreme and sucks you completely in.

A great character study of a woman and her child. The reason this film works so well is that their story, their predicament is not a bolted on addition to the film. Better than the Hollywood painting by numbers 'horror' films that are churned out. Catch this if you dare.

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 04 December 2003 My Rating: out of 5

Hideo Nakata followed up 'Ring' and 'Ring 2' with this ghostly tale and it continues in the trend of his previous films, proving not only that Japanese horror is at an all time high, but simplicity far outweighs technological advances.

The film concerns recently divorced Yoshimi Matsubara's struggle to make a life for herself and her 5 year old daughter Ikuko, despite her husband's attempts to gain custody of their daughter, for reasons of spite.

Things seem to slowly move to her advantage when she gets an apartment and a new job, however, things go from bad to worse as their new home is apparently haunted.

This film was so simple yet effectively executed, making it one of the best written and directed films I have ever seen,not to mention the best ghost story I have ever seen.

Involving only two main characters and at one main location, Nakata uses the bland deco and architecture to his every advantage, turning the apartment building into a chillingly real place.

The scares are few and far between but I was never uninterested and when we do finally get to a scare it pays off!!

The film works because of it's characters, we care about Yoshimi and Ikuko and want them to be happy or at least together, we feel true sympathy for Yoshimi and even without the ghostly element, we feel sorry for her as she is in total despair at the thought of losing her daughter.

Another aspect which I really enjoyed was the inclusion of the character of Kishida, a friendly lawyer who helps Yoshimi out of the kindness of his heart as he believes that she is a good person and that she should be with her child.

Even if this hadn't been a ghost story it would have been a brilliant psychological drama, and therefore the film is only elevated when the ghostly goings on begin.

A wonderful film. The most beautifully simplistic horror film I have ever seen, is elevated through Hideo Nakata's masterful direction, and the performances of his two main stars. At a time when every studio going is hammering out slasher rip offs and CGI Blockbusters I thank my lucky stars that we have Japan.

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