Dark Water Walter Salles

Considering the talent of the all-star cast and crew that worked on the American remake of this creepy Japanese ghost story from 2002, comparisons to Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby shouldn't be that unusual. However, as much as the cast and crew attempt to compare Dark Water to Rosemary's Baby, the former tries too hard and comes up far short of the latter. In fact, as a fairly faithful remake, it isn't deserving of comparisons to Polanski's groundbreaking classic. Still, in adapting the Japanese screenplay for American audiences, screenwriter Rafael Yglesias has done a remarkable job of fleshing out the story of a recently divorced woman struggling to maintain custody of her five-year-old daughter amidst a nervous breakdown. While Rafael has kept the major elements of the original's ending, he unfortunately ends the movie on a more positive note than the Japanese original. And with such a heavy emphasis on the psychological aspects, Walter Salles's version of Dark Water is less creepy horror and more melancholy psychological drama with some excruciatingly slow moments. If you're looking for chills and scares, you'd do best to look elsewhere. On the other hand, each actor delivers a great performance, especially John C. Reilly as real estate agent Mr. Murray, and Tim Roth as loner lawyer Jeff Platzer, and Jennifer Connelly's nuanced performance as the tormented woman at the centre of this craziness makes her character believable. As well, Roosevelt Island works great as a location for the isolated loneliness that permeates the film, while the diffused greens and yellows of the artificial lighting, and the obvious use of rain, add to the despair. While Dark Water could use an informative director's commentary, there are a bunch of really good, short featurettes that examine everything from the cast and crew to the sound and set designs to the "making of" the movie. There's also the inclusion of two deleted scenes that were rightly excised from the film, as well as an analysis of three key scenes. Dark Water is a decent DVD package if you go in knowing what to expect, but more importantly, it will hopefully serve to bring yet more attention to the J-horror genre that Hollywood considers ripe for the picking. (Touchstone/Buena Vista)