'Dark Water' [Blu-ray]
(Hitomi Kuroki, Rio Kanno, Mirei Oguchi, Asami Mizukawa, Fumiyo Kohinata, et al / Blu ray / PG-13 / (2002) 2016 / Arrow Films UK)
Overview: Based upon on a short story by Ring author Koji Suzuki, 'Dark Water' follows Yoshimi, a single mother struggling to win sole custody of her only child, Ikuko. When they move into a new home within a dilapidated and long-forgotten apartment complex, Yoshimi begins to experience startling visions and unexplainable sounds, calling her mental well-being into question, and endangering not only her custody of Ikuko, but perhaps their lives as well.
Blu-ray Verdict: 'Dark Water' is a very effective chiller that takes its time building to a somewhat unsettling conclusion. A young wife and mother is in the throes of a divorce and moves with her daughter into a rundown apartment complex, where water always seems to be dripping from the ceiling. Her soon-to-be ex-husband wants custody of the kid and proceeds to make life highly unpleasant for his wife.
Between the constantly dripping water and the husband's antics, our heroine suffers a nervous breakdown and begins seeing a ghost. Or is it? The ending is haunting in more ways than one, of that please believe me.
Director Hideo Nakata, who also directed 'Ringu', another movie that relies on suspense and not on shockers that are heavily supported (if not induced) by the soundtrack. The other similarity is that both plots are classic ghost stories about the restless souls of wronged children. This gives these stories an interesting angle.
Being victims themselves, the ghosts cannot be regarded as 100% evil. Maybe we even would feel some sympathy for them, if they weren't that creepy - and downright angry! Or maybe if Nakato didn't have the habit to leave us with endings that are not altogether happy we could start to feel some empathy.
Regardless, 'Dark Water' (aka 'Honogurai mizu no soko kara') brings back what horror film always should be, in my opinion. An extraordinary experience that will scary you good, with 'Dark Water' the director seems to be in total control of the audiences minds and moods. I am truly impressed with what this film manages to achieve and once watched, I honestly think you will be also.
The American remake (featuring Jennifer Connelly) uses part of this ending, and makes an effort to spell things out a bit more clearly. Either version is tragic in its consequences. This is less a shocker than a sad tale of a woman's complete breakdown. Aided and abetted by a ghost. Or is it? See this one. Then see the remake. Both have their good points. This is a new High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
High Definition digital transfer
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original 5.1 audio (DTS-HD on the Blu-ray)
Brand new interview with director Hideo Nakata
Brand new interview with novelist Koji Suzuki
Brand new interview with cinematographer Junichiro Hayashi
Archive interview with actress Asami Mizukawa
Original Making of documentary
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain
First pressing only: illustrated collector s booklet containing new writing by David Kalat, author of J-Horror: The Definitive Guide to The Ring, The Grudge and Beyond, and an examination of the American remake by writer and editor Michael Gingold.