Dark Water

"Zero"

Dark Water Review


I've just walked out in the middle of "Dark Water"after a noxious hour of prosaically PG-13, hackneyed horror-flick cliches.

Torpid, trite and not the least bit scary -- just unrelen=tinglyunpleasant -- the first 45 minutes of the movie only came to life in twoscenes involving the messy divorce of miserable single mom Jennifer Connelly(proving Oscars don't bring talented actresses good roles). She subsequentlymoves into a drab, creepy cinderblock slum with her sad-eyed daughter (ArielGade), even though it's made very clear that there's nothing keeping herfrom finding a nicer place in the suburbs.

Soon the kid has an "imaginary friend" she won'ttalk about, their ceiling is dripping gooey black liquid from an abandoned(and eerily flooded) apartment upstairs, and the building's greasy manager(John C. Reilly) and bug-eyed, hollow-cheeked building superintendent (PetePostlethwaite) both seem to be hiding something sinister.

Director Walter Salles (the Brazilian behind "TheMotorcycle Diaries," making his inauspicious Hollywood debut) dragsout these routine, oppressively glum establishing scenes to a mind-numbingdegree. (If this apartment building is spooky enough to justify its ownominous soundtrack theme from the moment mom and daughter arrive, how comeConnelly isn't astute enough to realize something's amiss, even if shecan't hear the music?)

Yet at the same time, Salles manages through subtle-as-a-sledgehammerforeshadowing to give away so much plot that I knew everything that wasgoing to happen in the next hour, including the identity of the inevitableghost that will cause the impending terror, where the corpse was hidden,how the person died, who among the remaining characters knew about it,and that there might be an unexpected connection to Connelly.

As such, I didn't see much point in sticking around formore distasteful domestic misery performed by talented actors hired toprovide an ersatz air of serious drama and respectability to what is themost contemptible kind of cinema horror: putting little kids in peril forcheap thrills.

Even having seen only half of "Dark Water," I'mcomfortable in pronouncing it the worst movie (so far) in the currentlyfashionable Hollywood trend of remaking Japanese ghost chillers that weren'tall that good to begin with. (This film, "TheRing" and itssequel, and "TheGrudge" were all based on Asian box-officehits by Hideo Nakata.)

Of course, I do not begrudge any reader who dismisses thisreview out of hand because I didn't suffer through the whole picture. Butdon't say I didn't warn you.



Dark Water

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th July 2005

Box Office USA: $25.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $25.5M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Buena Vista

Production compaines: Vertigo Entertainment

Reviews

Rotten Tomatoes: 46%
Fresh: 70 Rotten: 82

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Dahlia Williams, John C. Reilly as Mr. Murray, as Jeff Platzer, as Kyle Williams, as Veeck, as Ceci

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