Dark Water (2002 film)
Japanese film poster
|Directed by||Hideo Nakata|
|Produced by||Takashige Ichise|
|Based on||Dark Water
by Koji Suzuki
|Edited by||Katsumi Nakazawa|
|Box office||$0.9 million (Japan)|
Dark Water (Japanese: 仄暗い水の底から Hepburn: Honogurai Mizu no soko kara, lit. "From the bottom of Dark Water") is a 2002 Japanese horror drama film directed by Hideo Nakata. The film is based on the story Dark Water by Koji Suzuki. The plot follows a divorced mother who moves into a rundown apartment with her daughter, and experiences supernatural occurrences including a mysterious water leak from the floor above.
Yoshimi Matsubara, in the midst of a divorce mediation, rents a run-down apartment with her daughter, Ikuko. She enrolls Ikuko in a nearby kindergarten and lands a job as a proofreader, a job she held before she was married, but this time in a small publishing company with modest pay. The ceiling of their apartment has a leak that worsens on a daily basis. Matsubara complains to the building superintendent but he does nothing to fix the leak. When she tries to contact the apartment above, she gets no answer. However, as she leaves, she catches the glimpse of a mysterious long-haired girl peering out of the doorway, but upon returning, sees no sign of her.
Strange events recur: a red bag with a bunny logo reappears no matter how often Yoshimi tries to dispose of it. Hair is found in tap water. Yoshimi gets more glimpses of the mysterious girl around the complex. Yoshimi becomes regularly late in picking up Ikuko from school, and it stresses her more when her ex-husband tries to take Ikuko. Several of the incidents remind her of the time she was abandoned as a child, and she still remains scarred from the situation. During a game of hide-and-seek, Ikuko sees the long-haired girl in a yellow raincoat, and faints and becomes seriously ill. The leak gets even worse. Yoshimi discovers a flyer showing a missing girl named Mitsuko Kawai, and that she had attended the same kindergarten as Ikuko but had disappeared about a year ago. Mitsuko had worn a yellow raincoat and carried the red bag. Yoshimi then discovers the apartment upstairs is indeed Mitsuko's former apartment.
One day, Ikuko goes missing and Yoshimi finds her in the apartment upstairs. With the door now unlocked, the water has been constantly running out of the faucets and flooding the entire place. Yoshimi decides up pack up her belongings, but her lawyer convinces her that moving now would weaken her position greatly in her divorce proceedings. Her lawyer shows the super the upstairs room, and the super agrees to finally renovate the apartment, and after the ceiling is patched, things seem to return to normal. But Yoshimi then finds that the red bag has reappeared, this time in Ikuko's school bag. She heads to the roof of the building, and is drawn to a water tank. She notices that it was last inspected – and thus opened – over a year ago, on the same day Mitsuko was last reported seen. She comes to the horrific realization via a vision that Mitsuko had fallen into the tank while trying to retrieve her red bag, and had thus drowned. Meanwhile, Ikuko, left alone in the apartment, attempts to turn off the bath tap, which has started to spurt filthy water. Mitsuko's spirit emerges from the flooded bathtub and attempts to drown her.
Yoshimi finds Ikuko unconscious on the bathroom floor. Intending to escape, she rushes into the elevator, apparently fleeing from the apparition of Mitsuko. But as the elevator door closes, she sees that the figure pursuing her is in fact her own daughter – and realizes she is carrying Mitsuko, who claims Yoshimi as her mother in a torrent of water. Yoshimi realizes that Mitsuko won't let her go and with Ikuko looking on in tears, Yoshimi sacrifices herself by staying in the elevator and pretending to be Mitsuko's mother to appease her spirit. The elevator ascends and Ikuko follows, but when the doors open, a flood of murky brown water rushes out and nobody emerges.
Ten years later, Ikuko, now in high school, revisits the now-abandoned block. She notices that her old apartment looks oddly clean and seems occupied. She then sees her mother, looking exactly as she did that fateful night, and they have a conversation. Her mother affirms that as long as Ikuko is all right, she is happy. Ikuko pleads to live with her mother, whom she thinks is alive, and though Yoshimi smiles, she tells Ikuko that it would be impossible and apologizes that they cannot be together. Sensing someone behind her, Ikuko turns, but sees no one (the audience though sees Mitsuko). When she turns back, Yoshimi has also disappeared. As she leaves, Ikuko realizes that her mother's spirit has been watching over her.
Japanese cast / English voice cast credits:
- Hitomi Kuroki / Shelley Calene-Black as Yoshimi Matsubara
- Rio Kanno / Gabi Chennisi as Ikuko Matsubara – 6-year-old Ikuko
- Mirei Oguchi / Mia as Mitsuko Kawai
- Asami Mizukawa / Jessica Boone as Ikuko Hamada – 16-year-old Ikuko
- Fumiyo Kohinata / Andy McAvin as Kunio Hamada
- Yuu Tokui / Mark X. Laskowski as Ohta (Realtor)
- Isao Yatsu / Ted Pfister as Kamiya (Manager)
- Shigemitsu Ogi / Jay Hickman as Kishida (Yoshimi's lawyer)
- Maiko Asano / Christine Auten as Young Yoshimi's Teacher
- Yukiko Ikari / Mia as Young Yoshimi
- Shinji Nomura / John Swasey as Mediator (Man)
- Kiriko Shimizu / Heather Lemaster as Mediator (Woman)
- Teruko Hanahara / Vicki Barosh as Old Lady (Twin, Elder) / Old Woman A
- Youko Yasuda / Vic Mignogna as Kono
- Tarou Suwa / Lidia Porto as Old Lady (Twin, Younger) / Old Woman B
- Shichirou Gou / Quentin Haag as Nishioka (Kunio's Lawyer)
- Sachiko Hara / Vicki Barosh as Kayo (Yoshimi's Aunt)
- Tohru Shinagawa / Christopher Ayres as Principal
An American DVD release of Dark Water was dubbed in 2004 by ADV Films, and later released on June 21, 2005, with Section 23. Arrow Video released Dark Water on Blu-Ray (AV068) on October 25, 2016. It was packaged with a 1080p transfer Blu-Ray disc and separate standard definition DVD disc. 
The original title, Honogurai Mizu no Soko kara (仄暗い水の底から, From the Depths of Dark Water), is also the title of the horror anthology by Koji Suzuki and the manga adaptation, authored by Koji Suzuki and illustrated by MEIMU, under Kadokawa Shoten in 2002. The English manga version, translated by Javier Lopez, was published as Dark Water by ADV Manga in 2004.
- Galbraith IV 2008, p. 422.
- "Honogurai mizu no soko kara (Dark Water)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- "Dark Water". Arrow Video. Retrieved November 3, 2016.