When it comes down to horror movies, you can either have the types that are more preoccupied with portraying creepy atmospheres and foreboding tension. But then you get the type, which is kind of where we're stuck now, where violence is emphasized - more specifically, graphic carnage-like violence. So when you see a film like Dark Water, you get the feeling that you're going to watch the former right? Well turns out you're getting something a little different and if you're aware of this before watching you might like it.
Dahlia Williams is a recently separated woman in a custody battle with her husband over daughter Cecilia. Getting an apartment on Roosevelt Island, Dahlia's problems seem to get worse as the apartment is in rather poor condition, notably a leak in the bedroom. But then, Cecilia starts to talk of an imaginary friend and the apartment upstairs seems to be frequently full of movement and water. But with a husband out to gain sole custody, is she just made out to look crazy or is there something upstairs?
Watching a horror film, you genuinely want to feel creeped out and almost be on edge. I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt strange after watching a horror movie, like noises aren't just simply noises and whatnot. Dark Water on the other hand is not a horror movie so much as it is a psychological kind of film where it's a more slower-based tension and relatively light on jump scenes. In fact, what little scares there is they feel somewhat, excuse the pun, "watered down", as if the studio didn't want the film to be too scary or more focused on boo scenes than atmosphere. While the film does have a more slower pace which is rather atypical of the more wham-bam style that we've been seeing lately but it feels like a psychological film mixed with a horror film but trying to figure out which one to use when. As such it feels sort of disjointed and pulled from 2 directions.
But just because it might not fit a horror or thriller genre doesn't mean it has to have bad acting too. Led primarily by Jennifer Connelly, she's given the most screen time and luckily she's sympathetic and able to lend gravitas to a character when they're normally known for being either shrieking violets or just sad sacks that cry all the time. It helps too that she's supported by known character actors such as John C. Reilly (Boogie Nights), Pete Postlethwaite (Usual Suspects) Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible 2), Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs) and Camryn Manheim (tv's The Practice). They're not really flashy roles but they don't feel useless either.
Is it a film that you should check out? Well, that is if you know what you'r'e getting into. Wanting to see a horror movie, or a character-based psychological film? If it's the former, you'll be disappointed but it's the latter you might find that you'll like it.