By Guest Reviewer The Creepy Concierge
In the final stages of a messy divorce, Yoshimi struggles to build a new life for herself and her daughter. Unfortunately, the challenges of single parenting and an ongoing custody battle are further complicated when they move into an apartment plagued by mysterious water leaks and haunted by the apparition of a little girl.
There are some films that get under the skin. Seep into the subconscious, take root and despite the best efforts to wash them out, scrub away the residue, the stain is stubborn and immoveable.
DARK WATER fits into that category.
This allegory of separation, loss and abandonment might sound a little too much like an entry level psychology lesson at first blush but it’s far more than that. It’s a killer ghost story and a superbly executed one at that.
Unfolding at a steady but never slow pace DARK WATER, if you’ll let it, takes you gently by the hand and leads you into a labyrinth of genuine domestic terror. It’s so effective, so insidious, that before you know it you find yourself thoroughly invested in the plight of Heroine (Hitomi Kuroki) and her daughter (Rio Kanno) as both find themselves at the mercy of borderline basic subsistence, domestic tension and a subtle supernatural force that threatens to undermine their family unit and their sanity. To say anymore would spoil the ride.
Produced in 2002 the production still feels as fresh and relevant now as it did upon release. Plain, but creepily elegant, production design and spare cinematography only heighten your focus on the protagonists. The eerie minimalist score underlines the true terror of the potential of losing a loved one to something beyond any rational person’s comprehension.
There really are only two words to describe DARK WATER – subtle genius. Watch it and watch it again, you won’t regret it.