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Monday, January 18, 2016

Classic Movie Review: Dark Water


As most of you are aware the Japanese film preceded the American version by three years, that is 2002 versus 2005.

The films are based on the short story Floating Water by Koji Suzuki published in 1996.

The plot is well known; a woman in the throes of divorce attempts under extreme earthly and other worldly pressures to protect her young daughter.

This is a solid ghost story all around but what struck me are the differences, some subtle and one overriding between the two film versions.

No laundry list here, the umbrella is simply that the Japanese version is more faithful to the supernatural than the American. The original film is more eerie, more atmospheric and, in my opinion, the superior of the two.

Don't get me wrong Walter Salles' version is a good film. Jennifer Connolly's performance is impeccable but if your 'thing' is horror the 2002 version is better than the remake.

There is something about a ghost child, a demon little one skulking around the edges that is most unsettling. The color yellow as well is a powerful visual device to heighten the fear amidst the grey and dark of the film. And the early emphasis on the missing girl stamps this version with an air of mystery and misdeed.

And also for that reason, a more faithful adaptation to the original tale, I believe the first script is superior. The linear dimensions of the story telling are clearer, tighter and heighten the tension in shorter and stronger spurts.

So what if you have to read subtitles. You can read right? But if you know the basic story, you can watch Hideo Nakata's original version with the sound off. His direction is that pure.

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