Dark Water (2005)

5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Atmospheric, strong acting

Feels redundant of other Japanese horror films

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Dark Water

Studio:  Touchstone Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/Drama

Release Date(s):  July 8, 2005

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Sure, it’s a bit of a fixer-upper and just ignore the ghost children you see running around

Dahlia Williams (Jennifer Connelly) is going through a painful and bitter divorce with her husband Kyle (Dougray Scott) with their daughter Ceci (Ariel Gade) caught in the middle.  When they move into an apartment on Roosevelt Island, Dahlia finds the conditions rundown and dismal.  With no help from the apartment manager (John C. Reilly) or the local handyman (Pete Postlethwaite), Dahlia finds her world is falling apart as the apartment is continuously flooded with water and Ceci begins talking about a girl named Natasha (Perla Haney-Jardine) who she says is her invisible friend.  As Natasha becomes more a fixture in Ceci’s life, Dahlia worries there is more to Natasha than it seems.


Why does Natasha say “We all float down here”, Mommy?

Directed by Walter Salles, Dark Water is the American version of the 2002 Japanese horror film also called Dark Water.  The movie received mixed reviews upon its release but was a moderate success at the box office.

After The Ring was released in 2002, there was a big rush to bring Japanese and Asian horror films to America…and Dark Water along with movies like The Eye and The Grudge were all part of this trend.  Dark Water has its moments, but ultimately, doesn’t have the scares you hope for.


Worst water park ever!

The reason Dark Water doesn’t really have the scares you expect is that it really isn’t much of a horror film as a psychological drama.  There are no creeping terrors, seven days to death, or possessions…it could easily have been made as a film where the horror was actually all in the people’s heads (along the lines of something like The Orphanage).  This probably would have been better because the artsy looking film just comes off as blasé and quite dull movie with another dark haired ghost girl.

I can’t fault the acting in the film.  Everyone is quite strong from Connelly as the mother at the end of her rope, Dougray Scott the father who actually does have valid points, and even Ariel Gade who does have to carry a bunch of scenes.  I particularly like the always good John C. Reilly and Pete Postlethwaite who make their rather one dimensional character pretty real.  The movie also has smaller roles by Tim Roth and Camryn Manheim.


Just knock before you come in, ghost girl!

The visuals for the movie are probably the strongest aspect of the film.  The imposing water that seems to be drowning the character is always present and lurking.  Once again however, it feels a bit redundant of The Ring which was set in a rainy, cold, soaking Seattle and used some similar imagery.

Dark Water is kind of a dull picture that feels like it is always building to something exciting but never does.  The movie is loaded with multiple anticlimactic scenes and fails to scare.  The movie is atmospheric, but don’t head into it expecting much of a payoff.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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