Review of Dark Water (2002)

Moving picture, 101 minutes

Modern Japan. A former translator of horror stories fights for custody of her five-year-old daughter and moves into a new apartment. Water leaks from the roof. It’s easy to imagine things in the strenuous legal conflict, whilst also getting a new job and trying to take care of an often spaced-out little girl alone.

Subtle supernatural (Gothic/kaidan) horror in the modern Japanese tradition, with a sociological backdrop. Formulaic, with some weak moments, particularly the male teacher’s exposition scene. Nonetheless, a fairly competent style-over-substance combination of modern fears about marriage failure with the traditional curse motif, including the willingness to accept that something supernatural really is going on: a lawyer suggests it, and the entire block is eventually just abandoned and left to be overgrown!

moving picture Japanese production fiction