Asian horror movies are a popular trend these days. The Japanese Ringu (The Ring) was a huge success, especially after its Hollywood remake. Another example is The Eye (Jian Gui) from Thailand that is also awaiting an American remake. Honogurai Mizu No Soko Kara (Dark Water) is a powerful installment by Ringu director Hideo Nakata about to be released here in the Netherlands. And the Hollywood remake, starring Jennifer Conolly, is expected at the end of a new year crammed with cinematic surprises. But why remake something perfect?
In Dark Water, Yoshimi is about to divorce her husband. In order to keep custody over her six year old daughter Ikuko, she finds a job and moves into a gloomy, grey apartment building. It has been raining a lot over the past couple of days and Yoshimi is worried about water leaking through her ceiling. As a moist spot grows and grows, Yoshimi starts to see things that aren’t there’ Is there a connection between these two events?
Well, if you’d read the plot as described above, you wouldn’t really feel drawn to go see Dark Water. I suggest you do ‘ for the eerie, gloomy atmosphere and large amount of water, as well as the amazing camerawork, that builds up the tension of a story with a simple plot and a huge climax. Nakata hardly uses music and the occasional clich’ may drip off the screen, but somehow he keeps your attention. As a viewer you are aware of the fact that the things Yoshimi sees are really there ‘ but on the other hand you doubt her just as much as the people around her. What is really admirable about Dark Water is the fact that Nakata gets away with things that normally wouldn’t work in a horror movie. Dark Water is very suggestive, barely explicit and would be better categorized as a psychological thriller. What really struck me, as a Western layman, was the fact that everything Nakata depicts in this movie is very Western orientated. If it wasn’t for the Japanese actors/actresses, speech and characters, this might as well have been an American movie. One of the good kind.
Dark Water bears much similarity to Ringu, but again proves Nakata to be a master in constructing a perfect scary movie. The camerawork is truly amazing, smooth and subtle. The ending is very emotional and perfectly at peace with the rest of the story. The only negative aspect about Dark Water is the fact that you’ll undoubtedly have to pay the bathroom a visit after seeing it.
Directed by: Hideo Nakata
Starring: Hitomi Kuroki, Rio Kanno
‘Honogurai Mizu No Soko Kara (Dark Water)’ runs 101 minutes and will be playing soon in cinemas
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