Friday, July 15, 2005

"Dark Water": Some Thoughts

While I'm thinking about it ...

Dark Water has its share of spooky elements and is a rather effective creepy thriller -- right up until the time you realize that it's not really Dark Water at all, but rather a liquefied version of The Ring, or Ringu, or whatever you wanna call it.

That's not coincidental. Both Dark Water and Ringu are based on novels by Koji Suzuki. As a result, the films, like the author, go to the same well once too often.

Checklist the similarities:
- A single mother trying to do the best she can and battling self-doubt as she raises her quasi-psychic child.
- A constant, relentless rain; at least The Ring had the good sense to make the locale Seattle.
- A creepy dead girl, victimized by bad parenting and now in the market for a new mommy figure.
- Oh, and lots of yucky dark water and something involving a well, or a water tank, or any other water receptacle you can think of.

Jennifer Connelly does a fine job, and the supporting cast -- led by Tim Roth and John C. Reilly -- is equally terrific. But an awful lot of horror movie cliches lead to a wholly unsatisfying conclusion here. It's a bummer, too, 'cause director Walter Salles does a masterful job capturing the nuances of atmosphere.


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