Here's what the studio would like me to say: Dark Water does for bathtubs what The Ring did for VCRs.
Unfortunately, Psycho already took care of making bathtime not so much fun. Dark Water's attempts at creeping us out with half-assed frights and a pathetic story do little to alter that legacy.
The story is based on a simple premise: Divorcee and daughter move into a creepy apartment building that is constantly dripping water from the cieling. Investigations lead nowhere, and strange events start to occur, leading us to information about a missing girl with a red backpack. When mom finds that very backpack (and the kid draws pictures of the girl), things get even creepier, until a final showdown with what may or may not be a ghost, zombie, or worse.
So much of Dark Water is contrived that it defies the mind to try to make sense of it. Very little happens in the first two-thirds of the film, and Ringu director Hideo Nakata relies far too much on jump cuts and cheesy fright tactics to put some scares into what should have been a disturbing psychological thriller. Interpretations of its open-ended finale are legion, and whichever one you settle on you're bound to be disappointed, if you care at all.
With an American remake on the way, I'm hopeful that some script tweaks will help make the film scarier, more accessible, and less nonsensical. Otherwise, round two for Dark Water could end up equally all wet.
Aka Honogurai mizu no soko kara.