Dark Water

July 8th, 2005


Dark Water

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Still of Jennifer Connelly in Dark WaterStill of Jennifer Connelly in Dark WaterJohn C. Reilly at event of Dark WaterStill of Camryn Manheim in Dark WaterStill of Jennifer Connelly in Dark WaterStill of Jennifer Connelly in Dark Water

A mother and daughter, still wounded from a bitter custody dispute, hole up in a run-down apartment building. Adding further drama to their plight, they are targeted by the ghost of former resident.

Release Year: 2005

Rating: 5.6/10 (25,944 voted)

Critic's Score: 52/100

Director: Walter Salles

Stars: Jennifer Connelly, Ariel Gade, John C. Reilly

Dahlia Williams and her daughter Cecelia move into a rundown apartment on New York's Roosevelt Island. She is currently in midst of divorce proceedings and the apartment, though near an excellent school for her daughter, is all she can afford. From the time she arrives, there are mysterious occurrences and there is a constant drip from the ceiling in her daughter's bedroom. There are also the noises coming from the apartment directly above hers, though it would appear to be vacant. Is the apartment haunted or is there a simpler explanation?

Writers: Kôji Suzuki, Hideo Nakata

Jennifer Connelly - Dahlia
John C. Reilly - Mr. Murray
Tim Roth - Jeff Platzer
Dougray Scott - Kyle
Pete Postlethwaite - Veeck
Camryn Manheim - Teacher
Ariel Gade - Ceci
Perla Haney-Jardine - Natasha / Young Dahlia
Debra Monk - Young Dahlia's Teacher
Linda Emond - Mediator
Bill Buell - Mediator
J.R. Horne - Man in Train
Elina Löwensohn - Dahlia's Mother
Warren Belle - UPS Man
Alison Sealy-Smith - Supervisor

Taglines: Dark water conceals darker secrets.


Official Website: Touchstone Pictures [United States] |

Release Date: 8 July 2005

Filming Locations: Chandler Valley Center Studios - 13927 Saticoy Street, Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $9,939,251 (USA) (10 July 2005) (2657 Screens)

Gross: $49,483,352 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | (unrated version)

Did You Know?

The heartbeat heard during Dahlia's migraines are from an ultrasound scan of Daniel Rezende's wife who got pregnant at the beginning of the shooting.

Continuity: Near the end of the film, Kyle is carrying a clear plastic container of Ceci's dolls when he enters the elevator. You can see a sock puppet and a pink sheep on the outermost side of the box. When the elevator doors open at the first floor, the contents of the box have changed.

Veeck: Doll.

User Review

Good character-driven human drama; I blame the teenagers for the low rating.

Rating: 9/10

Once more, a great injustice has been done by IMDb voters. Dark Water currently has a rating of 5.4, with 16% of the voters giving it a 1! Note that 16% is 251 users, so it's not that a lot of people thought it was bad, it just that not many people saw it and/or voted.

It's quite obvious what happened. In what must be the most idiotic marketing move of the century, Dark Water was promoted as a horror movie. Not only is the original Japanese version not that scary to begin with, and focuses more on the drama and the human aspects of the story, but in the remake, the horror element completely gets thrown out the window in favor of an intelligent, mature human drama. I can say that 75% of the people who were with me in the theater had no idea what kind of movie this is going to be. Needless to say, about an hour into it they began shifting in their seats, chatting or giggling. Most of them were teenagers, who came looking for cheap thrills and got a "bore-fest" instead. The same kind of teenagers who, I bet, later voted it a 1.

True, the movie could have been edited a little tighter, and some sequences could have been left on the editing room floor, but it's not boring. It does take its time establishing and developing the relationships and the characters, but since the movie is all about the characters, that's a good thing. It's quite an ambitious drama, and as such, it doesn't always strike home. The script, I think, is the main problem. Since it presents us with very real people with real problems, but doesn't seem to know where to take them from there. As a result, the plot is thin. It's certainly not an event-driven movie. It remains unclear what the main conflict is for the heroine. The writer wasn't fine tuned on what he wanted to say, or maybe the director, Walter Salles, mishandled the material. For me, the story was about learning to let go, and the difference between loving someone and wanting them to be happy, and loving someone so much that you want that person to belong only to you. It's the difference between being willing to sacrifice vs. a selfish and possessive kind of love. I think the movie should have put more weight on that.

Other than that, the film does strike the right chords more often than not, and provides a lot of touching, sad moments. The acting is wonderful and three dimensional. All of the cast does an excellent job, but especially Jennifer Connelly, who proves once more she is the best American actress working today. The cinematography and the art design are beautiful, with a lot of attention to atmosphere. Also, Walter Salles shows some neat directing techniques in playing with the viewer's minds, making us doubt what's real and what's imaginary, and giving visual expression to the heroine's ever deteriorating state of mind.

All in all, I'd rate this movie a 7.5. But 5.4?!!!! That's lower than Fantastic Four, for crying out loud. I just hope that it finds the right audience when it's released on DVD.


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