Dark Water
British theatrical release poster
Directed byWalter Salles
Written byRafael Yglesias
Based on
Dark Water
Produced by
CinematographyAffonso Beato
Edited byDaniel Rezende
Music byAngelo Badalamenti
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date
  • July 8, 2005 (2005-07-08)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
Box office$44.4–49.5 million[2][3]

Dark Water is a 2005 American supernatural horror film directed by Walter Salles and written by Rafael Yglesias. It is a remake of the 2002 Japanese film of the same name, which was inspired by the short story "Floating Water" by Koji Suzuki, who also wrote the Ring trilogy. The film stars Jennifer Connelly, Tim Roth, John C. Reilly, Pete Postlethwaite, Perla Haney-Jardine, Dougray Scott and Ariel Gade.

Dark Water was released on July 8, 2005, and grossed $44.4–49.5 million worldwide.[2][3] It is a co-production between the United States and Japan.[1]


Dahlia battles her ex-husband Kyle for custody of their daughter Cecilia, a five-year-old kindergartener. Kyle wants Cecilia to live closer to his apartment in Jersey City, but Dahlia wants to move to the cheaper Roosevelt Island, where she has found a good school.

Dahlia and Cecilia decide to move to an apartment in a dilapidated complex on Roosevelt Island, a few blocks from Cecilia's new school. Cecilia finds a Hello Kitty backpack near the water tower on the roof. Shortly after they move in, the bedroom ceiling begins to leak dark water. Dahlia finds the apartment above flooded and a family portrait of the former tenants, the Rimsky family: a mother, father, and a girl who is Cecilia's age. She complains to the manager, Murray, and the superintendent, Veeck, about the water, but they do nothing. She is intimidated by ghostly visions and a recurring nightmare in which the girl's mother warns her not to tell the police what she's done to her own daughter or else she will harm Cecilia.

Cecilia's teacher is troubled by Cecilia's "imaginary friend" Natasha and Dahlia catches Cecilia talking to Natasha as well. In the bathroom, Cecilia passes out as dark water gushes from the toilets and sinks. As Dahlia is busy meeting her lawyer, Jeff Platzer, Kyle takes their daughter to his home.

That night, Dahlia sees water spilling from the water tower. Inside she finds Natasha's body and calls the police, horrified. Veeck is arrested for negligence as he was aware of her body. This was why he refused to fix the complex's plumbing problems. Veeck claims that Natasha's parents paid him to keep quiet about their willful abandonment of their daughter. Dahlia and Platzer discover that Natasha's parents had indeed cruelly abandoned her. Left to fend for herself, Natasha fell into the water tower and drowned, leaving her a vengeful ghost who is jealous of Cecilia because she has a mother.

Dahlia agrees to move closer to Kyle so that shared custody will be easier. As she packs, Cecilia asks her to read to her. When she hears Cecilia playing in the bathtub, she realizes that the girl is Natasha, who begs her not to leave and attempts to drown Cecilia until Dahlia promises to be her mother. Floods overwhelm the apartment and drown Dahlia, and Natasha and Dahlia's ghosts walk the hall together.

Three weeks later, Kyle and Cecilia pick up the rest of her belongings in the old apartment. In the elevator, Dahlia's ghost braids Cecilia's hair, telling her she will always be with her. The film ends with Kyle and Cecilia leaving.


Filming locations


Box office

Dark Water played in 2,657 theaters with a complete average run of 3.2 weeks. The film made $10 million, which is 39.0% of the movie's total gross, on its opening weekend. It went on to make $25.5 million in the US[3] and between $18.9 million[2] and $24 million[3] in the international box office, adding up to a worldwide box office total of $44.4 to $49.5 million.

Critical response

Dark Water holds a 47% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 154 reviews and an average score of 5.54/10. The site's critics' consensus reads: "All the atmospherics in Dark Water can't make up for the lack of genuine scares."[5]

William Thomas described the film in Empire as "interesting and unsettling, but never terrifying. Best viewed as a family drama-come-Tale Of The Unexpected rather than a full-on horror".[6] For Rolling Stone, Peter Travers wrote, "A classy ghost story is just the ticket in a summer of crass jolts... Screenwriter Rafael Yglesias (Fearless) stays alert to the psychological fears that underpin the supernatural doings in the apartment upstairs. Connelly digs deep into the role of a woman with issues of abandonment and rage that slowly reveal their roots. In a movie with more subtext than Rosemary’s Baby, nearly everyone, including Tim Roth as Dahlia’s lawyer, harbors secrets. Salles unleashes a torrent of suspense for one purpose: to plumb the violence of the mind."[7]

Todd McCarthy of Variety called it "well-crafted but thoroughly unsuspenseful" and said it "is dripping with clammy, claustrophobic atmosphere, but ultimately reveals itself as just another mildewed, child-centric ghost story of little import or resonance."[8] From The Washington Post, Ann Hornaday described the film as a "tasteful but unremitting bummer and yet one more case of an Oscar-winning actress proving that she can still do the kinds of disposable movies big awards are supposedly meant to banish from your résume forever."[9] For Slant Magazine Nick Schager wrote that the film improves on the source material characterizations, while over explaining the supernatural events. He concluded by saying, "this slick adaptation is also a moldy, third-generation retread of The Ring."[10]


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Fangoria Chainsaw Awards

Teen Choice Awards

Home media

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Dark Water is available on DVD, in two releases. One release is in pan and scan full screen and includes the theatrical cut, which is PG-13 and runs 105 minutes. The other is in widescreen (aspect ratio 2.35:1) and includes an unrated cut, which is actually shorter than the theatrical cut and runs at 103 minutes. Note that exact specifications vary by DVD region. There is also a PlayStation Portable UMD video version of the film. A Blu-ray Disc was released on October 17, 2006, but it only contains the widescreen PG-13 theatrical version and fewer extras than the DVD releases.


See also


  1. ^ a b c "Dark Water (2005)". American Film Institute. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Dark Water". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d Dark Water (2005). "Dark Water (2005) - Financial Information". The Numbers: Where Date and The Movie Business Meet.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Dark Water Film Locations". On The Set of New York.
  5. ^ "Dark Water (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  6. ^ "Dark Water".
  7. ^ Travers, Peter (16 June 2005). "Dark Water". Rolling Stone.
  8. ^ McCarthy, Todd (July 6, 2005). "Dark Water". Variety.
  9. ^ Hornaday, Ann. "Dark Water". Washington Post.
  10. ^ Schager, Nick (6 July 2005). "Review: Dark Water". Slant Magazine.
  11. ^ "The Movie Music Store".