(2005) dir. Walter Salles
Dark Water is really not a bad ghost story of a movie, though the pervasive decay of the environment is a little over the top. It’s an adaptation of a novel by Kôji Suzuki who wrote the Ringu series and technically also an adaptation of Hideo Nakata, the director of the Japanese “originals” of these films. I never have seen the originals in this case. But I think the work of The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) director Walter Salles and the overall attempt at this film really is better than the buzz it’s received.
The location filming on Roosevelt Island in New York City is very effective, locating the action in this separated section of the metropolis. And the use of the housing blocks in which the film takes place are evocative, though perhaps not as effective as they could be. The gloomy decrepitude is heavy. Perhaps that is naturalism, but it felt a little strong.
I think that the film’s biggest problem is it’s main theme and motif, quite literally the Dark Water. It’s heavily emphasized and in some instances is effective, but it’s a lot of overkill. I mean, the polluted water running down the walls and coming out of the sink is gross and somewhat creepy, but it’s not so much in and of itself. I think it actually put me off of seeing this film a bit because it didn’t seem to be that much substance to be so interesting. Beneath it, I think that the story is good, perhaps quite simple, and could have succeeded perhaps with less emphasis on this, its main visual and literal motif.