J-Horror!
New Restoration

“This really very scary Japanese ghost story from director Hideo Nakata exerts a chilling grip with its icy calm and eerie reticence.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Having changed the tides of horror with his 1998 screamfest Ring, director Hideo Nakata returned to the wellspring of author Kôji Suzuki’s haunting prose for this supremely atmospheric, leaky-condo creeper. Yoshimi (Hitomi Kuroki) is a recent divorcee eager to begin a new chapter with her six-year-old daughter Ikuku. When they move to a rundown housing complex in a seedy corner of town, Yoshimi starts to notice a series of odd, unsettling occurrences happening in and around their dank apartment — not least of all a dripping ceiling stain that portends something sinister upstairs. With visual homages to horror greats Don’t Look Now and The Shining, Nakata crafts an absorbing, psychological skin-nestler that, much like Ring, summons supernatural heebie-jeebies from the anxieties of single motherdom (a Suzuki pet theme). Walter Salles’s well-meaning Hollywood remake in 2005, starring Oscar-minted actress Jennifer Connelly, was a soggy dud that signaled the end of the J-horror cash-grab stateside.

“The J-horror boom of the ’90s and early ’00s produced some extremely creepy ghost stories, and Dark Water … is one of the creepiest, and saddest, of them all.”

Katie Rife, AV Club
Media
Note

Restoration courtesy of Arrow Films and the American Genre Film Archive.