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Honogurai mizu no Soko Kara

Dark Water

Japan 2002
produced by
Takashige Ichise for Kadokawa Shoten
directed by Hideo Nakata
starring Hitomi Kuroki, Rio Kanno, Mirei Oguchi, Asami Mizukawa, Fumiyo Kohinata, Yu Tokui, Isao Yatsu, Shigemitsu Ogi, Maiko Asano, Yukiko Ikari, Shinji Nomura, Kiriko Shimizu, Teruko Hanahara, Youko Yasuda, Kono Tarou Suwa, Shichirou Gou, Chisako Hara, Toru Shinagawa
screenplay by Hideo Nakata, Takashige Ichise, based on a story by Koji Suzuki, music by Kenji Kawai, Shikao Suga

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Having just divorced her husband (Fumiyo Kohinata) and stil fighting with her husband over custody for 6-year old Ikuko (Rio Kanno), Yoshimi (Hitomi Kuroki) moves into a new apartment with her little daughter that seems to be a real bargain upon buying. But soon Yoshimi has her first doubts if the bargain was really that good - not that it would be anything big at first, only water dripping from the ceiling, a moldy spot on the wall, hair coming out of the fawcetts ... and soon though Yoshimi starts catching glimpses of a little girl in a yellow raincoat who just shouldn't be there - and isn't at second look -, and a red children's bag keeps reappearing.

Eventually, Yoshimi gets an idea who that little girl in the yellow raincoat might be: Mitsuko (Mirei Oguchi), a little girl who disappeared two years ago, who went to the same kindergarten Ikuko attends now, and who lived in the appartment directly above them.

But while nobody knows what has happened to her, Mitsuko continues to haunt both Yoshimi and Ikuko, eventually causing Ikuko to collaps in kindergarten, later causing her to sleepwalk into the appartment above, and when Yoshimi, half mad with desperation, finds her there, she finds the appartment under water since all the water taps are turned on (and most probably have been for some while). Furthermore, Yoshimi thinks she has seen Mitsuko near the watertower of the appartment building's roof.

More than a little scared, Yoshimi's still determined to find out what's going on, even if she knows she might not like it (or survive it even), but there's nothing she wouldn't do for her daughter's sake ...

 

Dark Water is definitely a slowburn shocker, as until rather late in the movie, not all that much happens, it just seems to be about an insecure woman making a stand for herself - but that doesn't mean that the movie is without suspense.- it is actually quite astounding how much menace the film manages to put into trivial things like dripping water, yellow raincoats or red children's handbags, creating a creepy atmosphere out of almost nothing. The deliberately slow but suspenseful pace only contributes to the overall feeling of the film. Now add to that a story that's really well-structured, some impressive imagery when needed, and the cast is first rate and you've got yourself a very haunting movie.

 

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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out now on DVD