Honogurai Mizu No Soko Kara (aka. Dark Water)
Plotline: A young mother is fighting for custody of her child while trying to get herself and her daughter settled down in a new place where she can make a good life for the two of them. But after excitedly moving into a new apartment, strange things start to happen: there's an explicable leak in the bedroom ceiling, the sound of people running around upstairs from them resonates through the apartment but no one is there, she starts to see strange visions of a little girl in a yellow raincoat, and a mysterious backpack keeps appearing on the roof. Things get stranger and stranger as the young mother seems to start losing her mind. But is she really? Or is something strange going on her new place?
Scariness factor: Not jump-in-your-seat scary, but damn creepy, infinitely moreso than the American version. This is good stuff on the spookiness front.
Gross-Out Factor: Nothing real vile takes place in this movie--just some creepy shots of a child and that's about it. Subtlety is a damn good thing in this case, and makes the movie all the scarier.
Complaints: I really am hard-pressed to find any. I'm not sure if I liked the resolution at the end of the movie--it seemed like it was trying to wrap things up too nicely. But even that wasn't all that painful that I can justifiably complain.
High Points: In the American version, I just wanted to shout at the main character, DUDE, STOP BITCHING ALREADY AND JUST FRICKING MOVE, YOU CRAZY BITCH. In the Japanese version, I just wanted to hug the main character and make everything better. The situation was much more believable. The acting was much less melodramatic. And things just seemed to make more sense. American versions of Asian horror flicks always seem to fall flatter than the original, simply because they find some bizarre need to explain away EVERYTHING in the movie to the point that it is difficult not to start poking holes into their rationale. Asian horror flicks don't try so hard in this respect, and in doing so, they're a lot more believable. They allow hauntings and supernatural manifestations to be just that, instead of trying to make sense of and justify them to the viewers. The girl in the yellow raincoat is one of the creepiest child characters in a horror movie that I've seen. Many of the scenes are meticulously shot--the elevator shot below being a prime example. It was intense and spooky, and I was creeped out for the rest of the night.
Overall: Skip the American version and pick this one up instead. It is far better, and it will definitely make for a spooky intense night of horror-movie viewing. A definite recommendation.
Labels: A movies