Plot: Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly) is in the midst of a nasty custody dispute and she is desperate to find a new place, so she can establish residency and maintain her custody over her daughter, Ceci (Ariel Gade). Her husband Kyle (Dougray Scott) is putting a lot of pressure on her of late, so she has to find somewhere soon, even if it means taking a not so ideal apartment. She is shown an apartment in a dark, dank building with little light and an eerie vibe, but the manager insists that with a fresh coat of paint and some natural light, the place perks up. This abysmal flat is also close to a great school, so she soon moves in and Kyle is irate, as it means added time for his travels to pick up and drop off Ceci. Soon after she moves in, she notices an odd, black stain on the ceiling that no one seems willing to fix, she has strange dreams, and Ceci seems to have found an imaginary friend. Dahlia is stressed out to be sure, but it seems like there is some kind of presence in the apartment or she suspects her husband might be involved, trying to discredit her. But she just mentally exhausted and having some issues or is there a dark force at within her new apartment?
Entertainment Value: A remake of popular Japanese horror film Dark Water from director Hideo Nakata, this movie offers impressive visuals and atmosphere, as well as a terrific cast. The narrative is one we’ve seen countless times, but the approach is polished and effective, which compensates. Sold as a horror movie, Dark Water is more of a character driven thriller that weaves in some supernatural elements, with a focus on Jennifer Connelly’s Dahlia. The movie devotes a good amount of time to the various stress factors in her life and the toll it has taken on her, which makes the dark, hellish events after the move even more impactful. Dahlia is not a final girl or similar horror movie trope, but a stressed out, single mother trapped in a situation she can’t seem to escape. This lets us see the more horror driven elements through a fresher lens and to me, is why Dark Water works. Connelly is quite good here, backed up by John C. Reilly, Tim Roth, Dougray Scott, and Pete Postlethwaite, so this one rocks a more than capable cast of characters. While some will dismiss it for lack of aggressive horror or being a remake, I think Dark Water has some solid chills and the eerie atmosphere, creepy visuals, and great cast make it worthwhile.
No nakedness. I think you’d have to be quite brave to fornicate in the mold infested, dank apartment complex of Dark Water, so it is no shock that no one parties in the bedroom here. No blood. This one has some tense scenes, most of which involve water or black, oil type ooze, but no real violence. The supernatural elements and general eerie atmosphere are unsettling at times, but this one never brings out violence or bloodshed, it leans more on visuals and atmosphere. As for dialogue, John C. Reilly’s hilarious hard sell tactics offer some fun moments, while Pete Postlethwaite has an odd presence here, but overall, not much wild or over the top line wise. In the craziness venue, the nasty atmosphere and Reilly’s humorous sales pitches earn a point or two, but this one sticks to well worn ground in most instances.
Overall Insanity: 2/10