Saturday, July 23, 2005

Dark Water


Dir: Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries)

Haunted apartment plagues newly separated Jennifer Connelly and her young daughter. Yet another remake of a Japanese horror film, this one was originally directed by Hideo Nakata of 'The Ring" fame. The assemblage of actors (Connelly, John C. Reilly, Tim Roth) and the up and coming director show that the fad of remaking Japanese movies is getting serious attention now.

Horror movies are hard to review. People either love them or hate them, and when they hate them they explode with hostility. But it in the end I thinkbeing scared relies upon our particular willingness to suspend disbelief at that particular moment. I will admit that I was scared, by one scene in particular. But the film is also well made beyond the scary aspects.

The trauma happens primarily to two characters, so the movie must, and does, make us care about them. Thankfully the film is not afraid to go 45 minutes or so without something scary happening at the beginning so that when it does it means something to us. Actually the film is more creepy that scary, low on the special effects and high on the psychological drama. I am tempted to label it psychoanalytic, since the horror derives from issues of parenting and abandonment. Sort of Freud made manifest and trying to kill you. The pacing as well caught my attention. Often, horror movies get repetitious with 10 minutes or so of down time between scary scenes. I feel sometimes I could set a clock to it. But things felt more random here, events came without notice, adding to the tension I felt while watching.

There are a few loose ends, some of the minor characters clearly had scenes left on the editing room floor (Tim Roth especially).

I found the ending very satisfying, indeed touching. I did not feel forced into reactions by things jumping out from behind doors and the like. There was not a monomaniacal reliance on the movie's gimmick to drive the narrative. All of these are things that to my mind makes a good horror flick. And I believe Dark Water is one of those.

I recommend it, pretty strongly.



Blogger ronvon2 noted on 7/26/2005 06:41:00 PM that...

Sounds like a winner.