Screened as part of NZIFF 2002

Dark Water 2001

Honogurai mizuno sokokara

Directed by Nakata Hideo

Japan In Japanese with English subtitles
100 minutes 35mm



Ichise Taka


Nakamura Yoshihiro, Suzuki Ken-ichi. Based on the novel by Suzuki Koji


Hayashi Junichiro


Takahashi Nobuyuki


Kawai Kenji


Kuroki Hitomi (Matsubara Itsumi)
Oguchi Mirei ( Kawai Mitsuko)
Kanno Rio (Ikuko, age 6)
Mizukawa Asami (Ikuko, age 16)


Berlin 2002


Fear is organic. This chillingly spooked new psycho-thriller from Nakata Hideo and Suzuki Koji, the director and writer of the Ring movies, is no anti-climax. Nakata evokes the discomfort of inescapable musty dampness and then he preys on your dread of the dark invading water - and then he brings on the jealous little phantoms that come for your mother. A divorced woman struggling to maintain custody of her daughter rents the only apartment she can afford. Despite a water stain on the bedroom roof, mother and daughter settle in and apply a coat of paint. The stain begins to reappear. And it continues to grow. It spreads like a virus. Water starts dripping. No one can stop it. But are they really trying? The little girl discovers a bright red school bag on the roof near the water tank. The bag won’t go away either. Do not go up there. No, no, NO. Do not approach the water tank. The set-up is classic. Dark Water hums with menace and a fiendishly refined sense of terror. — BG 

"Rarely has H2O seemed so demonically scary as in Dark Water, the latest psycho-thriller from Japanese maestro Hideo Nakata which spreads a clammy hand of slow-burning fear across 100 minutes and delivers several real shocks along the way… Again working from an original story by Koji Suzuki, known as ‘the Stephen King of Japan’, Nakata employs his technique of building atmosphere from a kind of heightened naturalism… Nakata doles out the shocks with cool precision, climaxing in a rooftop finale that's every bit the measure of the famous TV set sequence in The Ring. Lensing by Junichiro Hayashi is a full partner in the picture’s atmosphere, with muted, slightly underlit interiors and few bright colors; in the grayish tonal scheme, objects like the red backpack take on a sinister resonance. As a metaphor for seeping evil, water is ever-present, in a growing number of hues: no one is likely to leave the bath running after seeing this movie." — Derek Elley, Variety 

"Dark Water has been bought for a Hollywood remake by Pandemonium, a production company run by former 20th Century Fox President Bill Mechanic. But how, I wonder, will an American director put the uniquely Japanese atmospherics of this film on the screen? The incessant rain, I suppose, he can find in Seattle. But where is he going to get that rainy-season slime peculiar to old manshon that haven’t been properly aired in ages?" — Mark Schilling, Japan Times