Billed as a spooky remake of a Japanese chiller, Dark Water is a failure as a horror movie. Patient audiences may enjoy it though, as a dark family drama about broken homes, neglect and the perils of dodgy plumbing. A Beautiful Mind star Jennifer Connelly plays a struggling mother on her way to divorce, who suffers visions and creepy noises when she moves into a rundown New York apartment block with her young daughter (Ariel Gade). Is the supernatural at work or is she going insane?
The answer is far too obvious. As are most of the attempted scares, which fail to make the heart flutter until about two minutes from the closing credits. Brazilian director Walter Salles usually makes thoughtful, touching dramas such as The Motorcycle Diaries and Central Station. And in this, his first English language movie, he tries to find the same emotional truth. It's all very admirable - and you do care about the characters - but the frightening bits aren't delivered with any conviction; they're just time-fillers before we get to the next angst-filled confrontation or elegantly grubby shot of Connelly blubbing, yet still looking beautiful.
"A POWERFUL PERFOMANCE BY CONNELLY"
Director and star appear happier re-creating divorce weepie Kramer Vs Kramer than The Exorcist. They may even look down on the idea of a pure and simple shocker. So if you're looking for jump-a-minute scenes, this is not for you. Others should appreciate Connelly's powerful performance and John C Reilly's funny cameo as a smooth-talking landlord, neither of which are still quite enough to make Dark Water worth splashing out for.