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“Dark Water: Unrated Director’s Cut”
Reviewed by: Wayne Klein
Genre: Horror
Video: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages English, Spanish, French
Subtitles English, Spanish
Length 105 minutes
Rating PG-13
Release Date 12/26/05
Studio Touchstone Home Video
Commentary: None
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: “The Sound of Terror”, “Making of Dark Water”, “An Extraordinary Ensemble”
Filmography/Biography: None
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: None
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: Deleted Scenes
Music Video: None
Other: “Analyzing ‘Dark Water’ Scenes”
Cast and Crew:

Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Tim Roth, Dougray Scott, Peter Poslethwaite, Camryn Mahheim

Written By: Rafael Yglesias based on the script by Hideo Nakata & Takashige Ichise adapting the novel by Kôji Suzuki.
Produced By: Doug Davison, Roy Lee and Bill Mechanic
Directed By: Walter Salles
Music: Angelo Badalamenti
The Review:

Japanese horror movies demonstrate the knack that American horror movies have lost at creating a sense of unease without resorting to cheap gore. Slasher flicks basically undid the genre. Once a genre is parodied, you know you’re in trouble as that usually means it’s the end of the line or time to reinvent the genre. “Dark Water” is another in a line of Japanese horror films adapted for the U.S. market afraid to read subtitles. The screenplay by Rafael Yglesias (“From Hell”, “Death and the Maidan”, “Fearless”) takes the basic concept of the original film and makes it scary for American audiences. Director Walter Salles (“The Motorcycle Diaries”) manages to maintain the tension throughout the film with his deliberate pacing and moody compositions. One of the better remakes of a Japanese thriller/horror film, “Dark Water” takes a bit of patience to get into as it takes a bit to establish its sense of foreboding. I’ll be honest here I didn’t see a huge difference between the theatrical version and the DVD “Unrated Director’s Cut”. Some scenes may have been tightened while others were lengthened, I can’t say for sure as it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the film in theaters. ***

A slow paced but moody thriller the film stars Jennifer Connelly (“A Beautiful Mind”) as a Dahlia divorced mom stuck in a nasty custody battle with her husband over her young daughter Cecelia. . She moves into a run down apartment building in New York because she can’t afford some place else. Strange stains begin appearing on their ceiling and continue to grow indicating that the plumbing is a problem in the apartment above them. Couple that with her daughter’s creepy imaginary friend, the strange whispering sounds that Dahlia hears and you’ve got a recipe for scares. ---

Image and Sound:

“Dark Water” looks magnificently moody in this exceptional transfer. Colors are NOT vibrant which is how the original film looked in theaters. The 5.1 Surround makes effective use of the format placing effects around the system and does Angelo Badalamenti’s wonderful score justice.

The Extras:

Filled with quartet of very good featurettes “Beneath the Surface: The Making of ‘Dark Water’” is broken up into five short chapters that collectively run under 20 minutes focusing on the production design, the director’s vision for the film and what the cast and crew brought to the film. “The Sound of Terror” lets us eavesdrop on the wonderful rich effects used to enhance the feeling of dread in the picture. “An Extraordinary Ensemble” runs about a half hour and gives praise to what the production cast and crew brought to the film from pre-production to post-production. “Analyzing Key Sequences” takes a look at two of the most effective sequences in the film and allows you to dig beneath the surface of the sound effects in an interactive feature. We also get a couple of deleted scenes and the usual promotional trailers. ---

Commentary: No commentary track
Final Words:

A moody film that earns its creep factor due to the strong performances and production style, “Dark Water” isn’t a rousing feel good movie by any stretch of the imagination. This is the type of thriller/horror film that works because the makers build the sense of foreboding and mood over time. So if you’re expecting an immediate payoff, you should stick to “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” or something where gore is dished out like candy on Halloween. I really can’t tell you how this compares to the Japanese original as I haven’t seen it but it appears that the crew have done a marvelous job of adapting this to the American market.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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