ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Dark Water(2005)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Walter Salles

Starring:
Jennifer Connelly/Dahlia
John C. Reilly/Mr. Murray
Tim Roth/Jeff
Dougray Scott/Kyle
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
A newly separated M.I.L.F. (Connelly) moves into a shit-hole with her cutesy daughter (Gade), all in the name of starting over. Before they can fully settle in though, supernatural plumbing problems arise and a pesky ghost kicks in the tricks. Turn off the valve! I’m drowning over here!
THE LOWDOWN
I can’t say that I was too jazzed up to see Dark Water where I had already seen the excellent 2002 Japanese original not so long ago and didn’t really “crave” hitting up another version of it. As I was sitting there in the movie theatre with my tub of toxic Pop Corn, I swiftly realized that I was right in not getting all worked up over this umpteen Holly “out original ideas” wood remake where it was yet another diluted re-imagining of a film that did it BANG-ON on its first run.

I’ll give the US Dark Water this; it had the dramatic “hoo-ha” down pat that's for sure! From the realistic tension between Dahlia (Connelly) and her sour ex-husband (trust me, dicks like that exist, I’ve met them many o times), to the poignant relationship she had with her adorable daughter, to the powerful execution on her paranoia/emotional breakdown, Dark Water had enough “feelings” for three Meredith Baxter Birney TV Movies of the weeks! I half expected Oprah and Dr Phil to pop up at some point to chime in their two useless cents, thankfully, they were absent from the movie (yet they still haunt my nightmares). The stellar acting on hand also helped in making the ride a more involving one one! With a cast of the likes of Jennifer Connelly, Tim “good to see ya again chap” Roth, Pete Postlewait and Jon C Reily, I expected Grade-A stuff and I got just that plus taxes! It should be said, that this film was yet another statement as to how well-rounded Jennifer Connelly is as an actress and a criminally hot dame. She’s was the main reason as to why I and my Johnson kept watching!

Unfortunately unlike its Japanese predecessor, this American remake was BALLS as a horror flick. First off, the element of water failed miserably in acting as a threatening element throughout. The bum execution made it look just like a big freaking leak to me, nothing a bum crack revealing plumber couldn't fix in a jiffy. The mystery angle was also slapped-dashed our way. As the end credits rolled, character development/subplots were left dangling and huge questions were still up in the air, with zero answers in sight. Some might call that move bold, in this instance, I called it lazy. The screenwriter's fault or the editor's? Who knows? One of them should be spanked with a hammer though for their sloppy job. The same can be said about the execution of the “revealing” plot turns which were delivered in a ho-hum fashion with little weight, momentum or impact to them. How you can make the discovery of a "BLEEP" mundane is beyond me! Director Walter Salles managed to do it! GOOD FOR YOU! Lastly, where was the money shot? Much like RINGU was known for the “girl crawling out of the TV” bit, the original Dark Water was notorious for its Shining-esque “huge wave erupts out of the elevator to engulf kid” sequence. That astonishing moment was nowhere to be found in this new version! I don’t know about you, but if I remake an Asian film, you can bet your apple candy ass that I’ll at least reprise the damn money shot! That’s why it’s called the money shot! It's money! COME ON!

When all was said and Drano-ed, it was obvious to me that the director behind this remake wanted to make his own film as opposed to solely repeating what the original accomplished...fair enough but why did that film have to be a pure drama? Maybe its just me but I was expecting a horror flick! You know, scares, suspense, horrific imagery...DIDN'T GET THAT! Furthermore, for those of us, who saw the original, he had something to live up to…and in my out of their sockets eyes...he failed. The US Dark Water? Whatever man…gimmee a triple shot of JD...now THAT'S some potent dark water!
GORE
We get a semi damaged corpse, lots of oil like water… and did you see the crap they put on Movie Theatre Popcorn nowadays? If that’s butter, then I got bucket loads of it in my jockeys if stroked properly…disgusting!
ACTING
Jennifer Connelly (Dahlia) was rock solid as per usual, giving her role a slew of layers and interpreting them all with gusto and talent. She’s the real deal! One of the best young actresses on the block! MARRY ME! John C. Reilly (Mr. Murray) is always likeable, even when playing a loser or a scumbag, that’s his “magic” and it was well applied here. Was that Tim Roth (Jeff)? YOU BET IT WAS! Last time I him, it was in Planet of the Apes. It was a treat to see the talented lad in action again. Do more films Timmy! Dougray Scott (Kyle) played the bitter ex-husband so well that I wanted to get in there and pound some “sensitivity classes” into him. Great hair too! Pete Postlethwaite (Veeck) did fine and let his odd accent gap what was missing. Ariel Gade (Ceci) was serviceable as the cute little girl, nothing more…you know the rest.
T & A
NATHING! Not even a decent Connelly in wet t-shirt shot…what a waste of a GOLDEN opportunity!
DIRECTING
Walter Salles did wonders in directing his drama, showcased the occasional creative shot and managed to tap into the hopeless feel of the “money challenged” surroundings. Too bad he had no grasp on tension, scares and handled his mystery/horror elements sloppily.
SOUNDTRACK
Notch another unorthodox, somber and hypnotizing score to Angelo Badalamenti garter belt! FREAKING AWESOME!
BOTTOM LINE
I'm sure that having seen the amazing original beforehand affected my viewing experience as to this remake but what can I say...I saw it and took it in with me. There's nothing I could've done about that amigos! On my way out of the theatre I pegged it this way; the US Dark Water is a horror film for chicks that don’t dig horror films. It was efficient as a family drama first but was a flat and half baked horror flick second. It didn’t make me scratch my arse, yet alone make me feel uneasy for one second. With that said the compelling actors in the bath, the dread filled mood, the engaging drama and the even pace made it an easy watch but I still HIGHLY recommend you see the original instead. Yeah I know…subtitles…but you know what? Not only will you see a much better film but you’ll also brush up on your reading, which is good for the battered grey matter. Either way, you win! Right? I said...RIGHT?
BULL'S EYE
Both the original and the remake are based on Kôji Suzuki's (who wrote RINGU) novel of the same name.
The US RING 2 shamelssly stole from the original Dark Water in terms of scenes and plot line. Both films were directed by Hideo Nakata.

Although she never speaks of the film in interviews, one of Jennifer Connelly's early films was Argento's brilliant Phenomena.

VISIT THE OFFICIAL DARK WATER SITE HERE

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