JeffVice's Review of Dark Water

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"Dark Water" is all wet, and not just because it's one of the most liquid-filled movies in recent memory. This Americanized remake of a 2002 Japanese horror film can't make up its mind whether to be a drama or a thriller. Unfortunately, when the film tries to be a thriller, the results are pretty much water-logged. "Dark Water" is actually at its best when it's trying to be a character drama. There are many effective moments between characters, much of which has to do with the talented cast, which is led byJennifer Connelly. She stars as Dahlia Williams, a New Yorker involved in a bitter child-custody battle with her estranged husband (Dougray Scott). To spite him and save money, Dahlia moves herself and their young daughter Ceci (Ariel Gade) into a rundown apartment on Roosevelt Island, a New York community located across the Hudson River. And no sooner do they move in than mysterious spots start appearing on the ceiling — apparent leakage from the supposedly vacant apartment above. The building's sleazy landlord (John C. Reilly) and manager (Pete Postlethwaite) are no help, so Dahlia decides to take matters into her own hands. She realizes after a while that she had better solve that mystery soon, because she's starting to have nightmares about a missing girl, and Ceci has acquired an imaginary friend whose "games" are becoming more and more threatening. Horror is clearly not the forte of director Walter Salles ("The Motorcycle Diaries"). Few of the film's supposed jolts have the desired effect, and the film has several false endings (the first of which probably would have sufficed). However, some of the blame should also fall to screenwriter Rafael Yglesias, who came up with this nonsense. To their credit, the cast members try hard to bail out the filmmakers. Connelly is very believable as a woman starting to worry about her sanity, while Reilly — and Tim Roth, in a too-brief turn as Dahlia's fast-talking attorney — have their moments. And Gade is pretty expressive for a youngster. "Dark Water" is rated PG-13 for scattered use of profanity (including one usage of the so-called "R-rated" curse word), some brief drug content (including prescription drug use and references) and use of some crude slang terms. Running time: 105 minutes. E-MAIL: jeff@desnews.com
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Okfor ages12+