CC: Dark Water (1996)(2002)(2005)

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Friday, October 10, 2014

CC: Dark Water (1996)(2002)(2005)

Koji Suzuki (Born May 13, 1957) is a Japanese writer, who was born in Hamamatsu and currently lives in Tokyo.  Suzuki is the author of the Ring cycle of novels, which has been adapted into a manga series.  He has written several books on the subject of fatherhood.  His hobbies include traveling and motorcycling (hobbies found on the back of The Ring, 2002, Koji Suzuki).  He is currently on the selection committee for the Japan Fantasy Novel Award.

Dark Water is the English title of a collection of short stories by Koji Suzuki, originally published in Japan as Honogurai mizu no soko kara (Literally, From the Depths of Dark Waters).  The book was first published in 1996, and released in 2004 in English translation.  There is a manga adaptation of Dark Water from 2002, illustrated by Meimu.  Just like the book, it's a collection of short horror stories linked to water.

The collection contains seven stories, and an extra plotline forming the prologue and epilogue.

Floating Water - the inspiration for the film Dark Water.  It is the story of a young mother and her daughter who take refuge from a messy divorce in a run-down apartment building.  The mother discovers that a small girl vanished from the building a year previously, and begins to investigate the connection between her disappearance and a series of terrifying events taking place around the flat.  Both the Japanese film and the American remake are quite similar.

Solitary Isle - a young man sets out to discover the truth behind his dead friend's boast that he dumped his girlfriend naked on an island in the middle of Tokyo Bay.

The Hold - a fisherman who beats his wife and son tries to uncover the reason for his wife's disappearance, and why he has a throbbing headache.

Dream Cruise - a young man is invited out on a mini-cruise by a couple who wish to entice him into a pyramid sales scheme.  Fairly soon, bizarre things start happening to the boat.  Dream Cruise was adapted for the Masters of Horror Showtime cable network series in 2007 and it was directed by Tsuruta Norio.

Adrift - the crew of a fishing trawler happen across an abandoned yacht, similar in situation to the Mary Celeste.  The film rights for this story have been optioned.

Watercolors - an amateur dramatic troupe stages a play in a converted disco, but strange things start happening on the floor above.

Forest Under The Sea - the only story in the collection to have no real supernatural element whatsoever.  Two spelunkers discover an unexplored cave, but become trapped.  Suzuki here explores the emotions of regret and longing.  It ties in with the epilogue story.

Suzuki is concerned with the atrocities committed by humans themselves rather than by otherworldly forces.  There are themes of urban decay, family troubles and domestic abuse running throughout the stories.  The characters themselves are often selfish, cruel and self-absorbed.  Suzuki uses these characters to explore emotions such as rage, fear and longing.  His stories often take as their theme life after the Japanese asset price bubble burst, as they were written shortly afterwards.

The one thing that all the stories have in common is the repeated use of water imagery.  Many of the events take place at sea, but even the land-based plotlines have a connection to water.  In Watercolors, for instance, the characters are plagued by water dripping through their ceiling.  While its generally believed that water drips through the ceiling in Floating water, this is not true; this was just an element put into the films.


Dark Water (2002)

  • Original Title: Honogurai mizu no soko kara
  • Genre: Drama – Horror – Mystery
  • Directed: Hideo Nakata
  • Produced:
    • Takashige Ichise 
    • Kyle Jones 
    • John Ledford 
    • Mark Williams
  • Written:
    • Kôji Suzuki (Short Story)
    • Takashige Ichise (Screenplay)
    • Hideo Nakata (Screenplay)
    • Ken'ichi Suzuki (Screenplay) 
    • Yoshihiro Nakamura (Screenplay)
  • Starring: Hitomi Kuroki, Rio Kanno, Mirei Oguchi, Asami Mizukawa, Fumiyo Kohinata, Yu Tokui, Isao Yatsu, Shigemitsu Ogi, Maiko Asano, Yukiko Ikari, Shinji Nomura, Kiriko Shimizu
  • Music:
    • Kenji Kawai 
    • Shikao Suga
  • Cinematography: Jun'ichirô Hayashi
  • Editing: Nobuyuki Takahashi
  • Studio:
    • Honogurai mizu no Soko kara Seisaku Iinkai
    • Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Co. 
    • Nippon Television Network  
    • Office Augusta Co. Ltd. 
    • Oz Company 
    • Toho Company 
    • Video Audio Project
  • Distributed:
    • Toho Company  
    • Arti Film  
    • Tartan  
    • ADV Films  
    • Alpha Filmes  
    • DeA Planeta Home Entertainment  
    • Diaphana Films  
    • Highlight Film  
    • Madman Entertainment  
    • Palisades Tartan  
    • SBP  
    • Scanbox Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date:
    • 19 January 2002 (Japan) 
    • 9 November 2002 (USA)
  • Running Time: 101 minutes
  • Country: Japan
  • Language: Japanese

Dark Water (Lit. From the bottom of Dark Water) is a 2002 Japanese horror film directed by Hideo Nakata, the director of Ring and Ring 2.  Dark Water is based on Floating Water, a short story by Koji Suzuki.  The plot follows a divorced mother who moves into a rundown apartment with her daughter, only to experience supernatural occurrences and a mysterious water leak from the floor above which is eventually traced back to the former tenants.  Released in Japan in January 2002, the film went on to premiere at festivals in Europe and the United States.

Yoshimi Matsubara, in the midst of a divorce, moves to a run-down apartment with her daughter, Ikuko.  She enrolls her daughter in a nearby kindergarten and in order to win custody of her daughter, starts working as a proofreader, a job she held years ago before she was married.  The ceiling of the apartment has a leak, which worsens on a daily basis.  Matsubara complains to the janitor of the apartment, an old man, but the janitor does nothing to fix the leak.  She then tries to go to the floor just above her apartment to find out the root of the leak, and discovers that the apartment is locked.

Strange events then happen repeatedly: a red bag with a bunny on the front reappears no matter how often Yoshimi tries to dispose of it.  Hair is found in tap water.  Yoshimi gets glimpses of a mysterious long-haired girl who is of similar age to her daughter.  Yoshimi discovers that the upstairs apartment, the source of the leak, was formerly the home of a girl named Mitsuko Kawai, who was of similar age to her daughter.  She had attended the same kindergarten Ikuko now attends.  Mitsuko was abandoned by her mother and vanished more than a year ago.

Yoshimi finds her missing daughter one day in the apartment upstairs, which has walls pouring with water with the entire apartment flooded ankle-deep.  Convinced something eerie is happening, she decides to move, but her lawyer convinces her that her eyes may be playing tricks on her and that moving now would weaken her position greatly in her divorce.

One evening, after yet another strange occurrence involving the red bag, Yoshimi is drawn to the roof of the building, and while examining the huge water tank she notices that it was last inspected – and thus opened – over a year ago, on the day Mitsuko was last reported seen.  She comes to the horrific realization via a vision that Mitsuko had fallen into the tank while trying to retrieve her red bag, and was thus drowned.

Meanwhile, Ikuko, left alone in the apartment, attempts to turn off the bath tap, which has started to spurt filthy water.  Mitsuko's spirit emerges from the flooded bathtub and attempts to drown her.

Yoshimi finds Ikuko unconscious on the bathroom floor.  Intending to escape, she rushes into the elevator, fleeing apparently from the apparition of Mitsuko.  But as the elevator door closes she sees that the figure pursuing her is in fact her own daughter – with short hair – and realizes she is carrying Mitsuko, who, gripping her neck, claims Yoshimi as mother in a torrent of water.  Yoshimi realizes that Mitsuko won't let her go and with Ikuko looking on in tears, Yoshimi sacrifices herself by staying on in the elevator to appease Mitsuko's spirit and pretending to be Mitsuko's mother.  The elevator ascends and Ikuko follows, but when the doors open, a flood of murky brown water rushes out and nobody emerges.

The end of the film shows Ikuko, now sixteen, re-visiting the abandoned block.  She notices that her old apartment looks oddly clean and seems occupied.  She then sees her mother, and they have a conversation.  Her mother affirms that as long as Ikuko is all right, she is happy.  Ikuko then pleads to stay with her mother, whom she thinks is alive, and though Yoshimi smiles, she tells Ikuko that that would be impossible.  Sensing someone behind her, Ikuko warily turns, but sees no one (the audience though sees Mitsuko for a split second).  When she turns back, Yoshimi has also disappeared.  As she leaves, Ikuko realizes that her mother's spirit has been watching over her.

And people wonder why I think little kids are creepy.

Dark Water (2005)

  • Genre: Drama – Horror – Thriller
  • Directed: Walter Salles
  • Produced:
    • Doug Davison 
    • Kerry Foster 
    • Ashley Kramer 
    • Roy Lee 
    • Bill Mechanic 
    • Todd Y. Murata 
    • Diana Pokorny
  • Written:
    • Kôji Suzuki (Short Story) 
    • Hideo Nakata (Japanese Screenplay) 
    • Takashige Ichise (Japanese Screenplay) 
    • Rafael Yglesias (English Screenplay)
  • Starring: Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Tim Roth, Dougray Scott, Pete Postlethwaite, Camryn Manheim, Ariel Gade, Perla Haney-Jardine, Debra Monk, Linda Emond, Bill Buell
  • Music: Angelo Badalamenti
  • Cinematography: Affonso Beato
  • Editing: Daniel Rezende
  • Studio:
    • Touchstone Pictures  
    • Pandemonium Productions  
    • Vertigo Entertainment 
    • Post No Bills Films
  • Distributed:
    • Buena Vista Pictures  
    • Falcon  
    • Toho-Towa  
    • British Broadcasting Corporation  
    • Buena Vista Home Entertainment  
    • Eén  
    • Net5  
    • Touchstone Home Video  
    • Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • Rated:
  • Release Date: 8 July 2005 (USA)
  • Running Time: 105 minutes
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English

<Soapbox_Mode>

  1. They used the original script and hired someone to translate it into English.  There was already an English dubbed version of the original film, for what reason was there a need to remake this?  In most cases like this, The Ring, One Missed Call, the nuances of what is scary to Asian audiences is lost on us Westerners and a horror film needs to be punched up, i.e. Grandpa not resting in peace and haunting the apartment doesn’t hold the same weight for us as it does for the Japanese.
  2. Anyone else find it odd that Walt Disney is involved in a horror movie?  Especially one with mature themes?
  3. Please stop casting Jennifer Connelly, she used up all her acting juice in 1986 in Labyrinth.

</Soapbox_Mode>

The film opens in 1974, as a young girl, Dahlia, stands outside after school in the rain, waiting for her mother.  Why is this scene included?  No idea since we never reference it ever again.

Flash forward to 2005, the audience sees a grown-up Dahlia in the midst of a bitter mediation with ex-husband, Kyle, over custody of their daughter, Cecilia.  Kyle wants Cecilia to live closer to his apartment in Jersey City, but Dahlia wants to move to Roosevelt Island, where she has found a good school.  Kyle threatens to sue for full custody because he feels the distance is too great.  He also claims that Dahlia is "mentally unstable."

Dahlia and Cecilia see an apartment in a complex on Roosevelt Island, which is just a few blocks from Cecilia's new school.  The superintendent of the dilapidated building is Mr. Veeck.  The manager is Mr. Murray.  During the tour, Cecilia sneaks to the roof where she finds a Hello Kitty backpack near a large water tank.  They leave the bag with Veeck, and Murray promises Cecilia that she can have it if no one claims it.  Cecilia, who had disliked the apartment, now wants desperately to live there.  Dahlia agrees to move in.

Shortly after, the bedroom ceiling begins to leak dark water.  The source is the apartment above, 10F, where the Rimsky family lived up until a month ago.  Dahlia enters 10F and finds it flooded, with dark water flowing from every faucet, the walls and toilet.  She finds a family portrait of the former tenants—a mother, father, and a girl Cecilia's age.  Dahlia complains to both Veeck and Murray about the water, but the former does little about it despite the insistence of the latter.  Meanwhile, Cecilia develops a strong bond of friendship with an imaginary friend called Natasha.

The ceiling, shoddily patched by Veeck, leaks again.  At school, Cecilia appears to get into a fight with Natasha, who appears to control her hand while painting.  She's taken to the girls' bathroom where she passes out after dark water gushes from the toilets and sinks.  Dahlia, who is meeting with her lawyer, can't be reached, so Kyle picks her up and takes her to his apartment.  Later on that night, Dahlia has a moment to herself.  She is feeling a little bit better now that Jeff will have her apartment fixed and that Cecilia is safe with Kyle.  Dahlia starts to hear footsteps from outside.  She gets up and checks the hallway outside of her apartment room door.  She hears footsteps going up to the roof.  Dahlia opens the door on the rooftop and looks around.  She sees that water is spilling out of the huge water tank.  She climbs up the ladder and opens the hatch to the water tank.  We see Natasha's body floating in the water.  Dahlia is stunned and Natasha's eyes snap open.  Dahlia screams and closes the hatch.  She opens the hatch up again and Natasha's body is still there.

When police arrive, Veeck is arrested for his negligence.  He was aware of her body, which was why he refused to fix the water problem plaguing the complex.  While Murray is questioned, Dahlia and her lawyer discovers with cold irony that Natasha's parents had left her behind.  While her parents assumed they were with another parent, Natasha was left to fend for herself and it led to her eventual death.

Dahlia agrees to move closer to Kyle so shared custody will go easier.  As Dahlia packs, Cecilia is taking a bath.  A girl in a hooded bathrobe comes out of the bathroom, wanting Dahlia to read to her.  When she hears voices in the bathroom, she realizes that the girl is Natasha.  Natasha begs Dahlia not to leave her, but Dahlia rushes into the bathroom to save Cecilia.  Natasha then 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.  Natasha lets Cecilia go and floods the apartment, causing Dahlia to die from drowning.  Her and Natasha's spirits are shown walking down the hallway.

Kyle picks up Cecilia from the police station.  Weeks later, the two go back to pick up the rest of her belongings.  Cecilia has a flashback of her and her mother looking at pictures together, and in the elevator, her mother's ghost braids her hair and comforts her—telling her she will always be there.  Kyle, momentarily horrified with a malfunction in the elevator, the weird behavior of his daughter, and perhaps noticing her hair had been braided, finally takes her to his apartment in Jersey City.

One VOD charge and you too can hate this film as much as I.

 

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