Dark Water (2005 film)

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Dark Water
British theatrical release poster
Directed byWalter Salles
Written byRafael Yglesias
Based on
Produced byRoy Lee
Doug Davison
Bill Mechanic
StarringJennifer Connelly
John C. Reilly
Tim Roth
Dougray Scott
Pete Postlethwaite
Camryn Manheim
CinematographyAffonso Beato
Edited byDaniel Rezende
Music byAngelo Badalamenti
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date
  • July 8, 2005 (2005-07-08)
Running time
105 minutes
Budget$13 million
Box office$58.4 million[1]

Dark Water is a 2005 American supernatural horror drama film directed by Walter Salles, starring Jennifer Connelly and Tim Roth. The film is a remake of the 2002 Japanese film of the same name, which is in turn based on the short story "Floating Water" by Koji Suzuki, who also wrote the Ring trilogy. The film also stars John C. Reilly, Pete Postlethwaite, Perla Haney-Jardine, Dougray Scott and Ariel Gade.

The film was released on July 8, 2005, to mixed reviews and grossed almost $60 million worldwide.[1]


Dahlia battles her ex-husband Kyle for custody of their daughter Cecilia, a five-year-old kindergartener. Kyle wants Cecilia to live closer to his apartment in Jersey City, but Dahlia wants to move to the cheaper Roosevelt Island, where she has found a good school.

Dahlia and Cecilia view an apartment in a dilapidated complex on Roosevelt Island, a few blocks from Cecilia's new school. Cecilia sneaks to the roof and finds a Hello Kitty backpack near the building's water tower; the manager, Cory Murray, explains that no one has claimed it. Cecilia initially dislikes the apartment but decides she wants to live there. Dahlia makes an offer the same day.

Shortly after they move in, the bedroom ceiling begins to leak dark water. Dahlia finds the apartment above flooded from every faucet. She finds a family portrait of the former tenants, the Rimsky family: a mother, father, and a girl named Natasha who is Cecilia's age. Dahlia complains to Murray and the superintendent Veeck about the water, but Veeck insists that he is not a plumber and blames teenage vandals. The ceiling, shoddily patched by Veeck, leaks again. Dahlia is intimidated by teenagers in the apartment, and sees the face of a screaming girl in a washing machine. This isn't helped by a recurring nightmare she has, seeing Natasha's mother warning her not to tell the police what she's done to her own daughter or else she will harm Cecilia.

Cecilia's teacher is troubled by Cecilia's "imaginary friend", Natasha. Cecilia appears to argue with Natasha and lose control of her hand as she paints. After Dahlia catches Cecilia playing with dolls and talking to Natasha in the elevator, she forbids Cecilia to talk to Natasha again. In the bathroom, Cecilia passes out as dark water gushes from the toilets and sinks. As Dahlia is busy meeting her lawyer, Jeff Platzer, Kyle takes Cecilia to his apartment. Dahlia feels some form of relief knowing that Kyle will keep her safe.

That night, Dahlia follows footsteps to the roof and sees that water is spilling from the water tower. Inside she finds Natasha's body and calls the police, horrified. Veeck is arrested for negligence as he was aware of her body. This was why he refused to fix the complex's plumbing problems, and he is taken away. Veeck kept claiming that Natasha's parents paid him money to keep quiet about their willful abandonment of their daughter and lie for them that she was with either of them. Dahlia and Platzer discover that Natasha's parents had cruelly abandoned her. In turn, they also conclude that Natasha was left to fend for herself. She fell into the water tower and drowned, leaving her as a vengeful ghost who is jealous of Cecilia because she has Dahlia as her mother.

Dahlia agrees to move closer to Kyle so that shared custody will be easier. As she packs, a girl in a hooded bathrobe who resembles Cecilia asks her to read to her. When Dahlia hears Cecilia playing in the bathtub, she realizes that the girl is Natasha. Natasha begs Dahlia not to leave but Dahlia rushes into the bathroom to save Cecilia. Natasha locks Cecilia in the shower compartment and holds her underwater. Dahlia pleads with Natasha to let her daughter go, promising to be her mother forever. Floods overwhelm the apartment, and Natasha and the ghost of Dahlia walk the hall as mother and daughter.

Three weeks later, Kyle and Cecilia pick up the rest of their belongings. In the elevator, Dahlia braids Cecilia's hair, telling her she will always be with her.



Reviews of the film were mixed. It currently holds a 47% "Rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 154 reviews, with an average score of 5.54/10. The site's critics' consensus reads: "All the atmospherics in Dark Water can't make up for the lack of genuine scares."[2]

William Thomas wrote in Empire the film as "Interesting and unsettling, but never terrifying. Best viewed as a family drama-come-Tale Of The Unexpected rather than a full-on horror".[3]

For Rolling Stone, Peter Travers reviews the film as "A classy ghost story is just the ticket in a summer of crass jolts... Screenwriter Rafael Yglesias (Fearless) stays alert to the psychological fears that underpin the supernatural doings in the apartment upstairs. Connelly digs deep into the role of a woman with issues of abandonment and rage that slowly reveal their roots. In a movie with more subtext than Rosemary’s Baby, nearly everyone, including Tim Roth as Dahlia’s lawyer, harbors secrets. Salles unleashes a torrent of suspense for one purpose: to plumb the violence of the mind."[4]

Todd McCarthy of Variety says that "The ominous downpours that have drenched much of recent Asian cinema soak New York in “Dark Water,” the well-crafted but thoroughly unsuspenseful Hollywood debut by Brazilian director Walter Salles. Remake of the 2002 Japanese film of the same name from the progenitors of “The Ring,” novelist Koji Suzuki and helmer Hideo Nakata, is dripping with clammy, claustrophobic atmosphere, but ultimately reveals itself as just another mildewed, child-centric ghost story of little import or resonance."[5]

From The Washington Post, Ann Hornaday called it a "Tasteful but unremitting bummer and yet one more case of an Oscar-winning actress proving that she can still do the kinds of disposable movies big awards are supposedly meant to banish from your résume forever."[6]

For Slant Magazine Nick Schager writes "Similar to other stateside revisions of J-horror imports, Salles’s ghost story improves upon its source material’s paper-thin characterizations and mood of poignant anxiety even as its narrative explications drain any aura of irrational dread, a reasonable trade-off considering how few frights Nakata’s sodden dud generated from its illogical atmosphere. Yet given its pedigree—author Suzuki also wrote Ringu, which was directed by Nakata—it’s no surprise that this slick adaptation is also a moldy, third-generation retread of The Ring."[7]

Box office[edit]

Dark Water played in 2,657 theaters with a complete average run of 3.2 weeks. The movie opened to a rocky start with only making $9,939,251, which is 39.0% of the movie's total gross, on its opening weekend. It went on to make $25,473,093 domestically and $24,000,000 in the international box office, adding up to a worldwide box office total of $59,473,093.[8]

Home media[edit]

Dark Water is available on DVD, in two releases. One release is in pan and scan full screen and includes the theatrical cut, which is PG-13 and runs 105 minutes. The other is in widescreen (aspect ratio 2.35:1) and includes an unrated cut, which is actually shorter than the theatrical cut and runs at 103 minutes. Note that exact specifications vary by DVD region. There is also a PlayStation Portable UMD video version of the film. A Blu-ray Disc was released on October 17, 2006, but it only contains the widescreen PG-13 theatrical version and fewer extras than the DVD releases.


"I Got Soul" Written by John Martinez and Josh Kessler Performed by Scar featuring Filthy Rich Courtesy of Marc Ferrari/MasterSource

"Electrified" Written by Mike Gallagher and Marc Ferrari Performed by Mike Gallagher Courtesy of Marc Ferrari/MasterSource

"Itsy Bitsy Spider" (uncredited) Written by Traditional

"Namidaga Afuretemo" (Japanese Theme Song) Performed by Crystal Kay


  1. Seattle, 1974
  2. The Tram (Main Title)
  3. Ceci Wanders
  4. The Drip Stain
  5. Flotsam
  6. Deluge in 10F
  7. Mom From Hell
  8. A Ghost in the Machine
  9. New Nightmare
  10. Hello Again Kitty
  11. The Water Tower
  12. The Sacrifice
  13. Final Elevator
  14. End Credits

Soundtrack music by Angelo Badalamenti [9]

Filming locations[edit]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Fangoria Chainsaw Awards[edit]

  • Best Actress: Jennifer Connelly (nominee)
  • Best Supporting Actor: John C. Reilly (nominee)
  • Best Screenplay: Rafael Yglesias (nominee)
  • Best Score: Angelo Badalamenti (nominee)

Teen Choice Awards[edit]

  • Choice Summer Movie (nominee)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Dark Water". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  2. ^ "Dark Water (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  3. ^ http://www.empireonline.com/movies/dark-water-2/review/
  4. ^ Travers, Peter. "Dark Water". Rolling Stone.
  5. ^ McCarthy, Todd (July 6, 2005). "Dark Water". Variety.
  6. ^ Hornaday, Ann. "Dark Water". Washington Post.
  7. ^ Schager, Nick. "Review: Dark Water". Slant Magazine.
  8. ^ Dark Water (2005). The Numbers: Where Date and The Movie Business Meet https://www.the-numbers.com/movie/Dark-Water#tab=summary. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "The Movie Music Store".
  10. ^ On The Set of New York http://onthesetofnewyork.com/darkwater.html. Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]