Dark Water 2002 ***

Hideo Nakata’s 2002 film was remade in 2005 by Walter Salles, but the original film is still the best. Based on a short-story by The Ring author Koji Suzuki, Dark Water is a slow-burning chiller that builds to an unforgettable climax, with a clever directorial switch that wrong-foots the audience. Yoshimi Matsubara (Hitomi Kuroki) is a single mother who has just moved into a high-rise apartment block with her daughter, with a large stain appearing on the ceiling as she arrives. Mother and daughter are haunted by the diminutive figure of a child in a yellow raincoat; gradually they begin to suspect it may be the ghost of a missing girl. After the success of The Ring, Nakata has been less often recognized for his gift for scary stories, but Dark Water is probably his best work; controlled, patient and deeply alarming in the final third.


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