Hollywood Gothique
Film Reviews

Dark Water – First Impression

Just got back from DARK WATER. Despite the ho-hum reaction from the nation’s film critics, I thought the film was not bad.The pace was too slow, and the supernatural element was downplayed to the extent that the film almost became nothing more than a domestic drama, with a fly (i.e,, ghost) in the ointment.

Still, the atmosphere was effective, and Jennifer Connelly was great. The screenplay has a few nice touches, manages to make you care about what’s happening, and never succumbs to the temptation to throw the story out the window and plunge full bore into thriller mode (a tactic that destroyed HIDE AND SEEK, which has a slightly similar feel). This restrained approach paid off in the long run: the effort to establish a sense of reality made the intrusions of the supernatural more effective.

I doubt whether this film will be as big a success as THE RING, but it is probably a better movie; at least, it is a better remake than THE RING – by which I mean that it does a better job of standing up on its own terms in comparison to the original Japanese film. Of course, this may be partly because the Japanese version of DARK WATER, although quite good, was not up to the high standards set by the Japanese version of RING. Therefore, the new version of DARK WATER had less to live up to.

As I mentioned before, THE RING TWO stole some of DARK WATER’s thunder by incorporating many elements from the Japanese version of DARK WATER (both RING and DARK WATER were based on novels by Koji Suzuki). Yet DARK WATER still emerges superior; especially, it gets points for remaining true to the the spirit of the original’s ending, which (without giving too much away) was a sort of bittersweet triumph – a dark cloud with a silver lining.