Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dark Waters can't cover bad writing

Dark Water (2005)
Starring: Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Ariel Gade, Pete Postlethwaite, Tim Roth and Dougray Scott
Director: Walter Salles
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

A mother and her young daughter (Connelly and Gade) shortly after they move into their new apartment, in a building with a creeper super (Postletwaite) and strange plumbing problems. This go from mildly unsettling to nightmarish when the girl gets an imaginary friend... who is actually a vengeful ghost.

I came to this film knowing nothing more than it was a horror movie and that it probably involved water. Barely twenty minutes in, I knew pretty much everything that was going to happen, thanks to foreshadowing so heavy-handed that I'm surprised the projector could support its weight, and a storyline that not once deviated from a paint-by-numbers ghost movie plot. Sure, there were some half-hearted attempts at misdirection, but they were too little and too late and too disconnected from some of the events that had already occurred to work. The end result is that unless this is the first ghost movie you've ever encountered, you're going to spend more time wishing the story would move forward than being scared or apprehensive.

If the goal was to produce a ghost story that plods through all the expected standards step by predictable step, the creators succeded. I kept HOPING that they'd take an unexpected turn somewhere, but they never did. The only decent thing about the film is that all the performances were appropriately understated. Connelly is great in her part, and Tim Roth shines as her quirky attorney.

My bottom line: Save your time and money. There's not enough worthwhile here for you to spend either on "Dark Water."


Tom said...

At first, I thought this was going to be a report about the Louisiana oil spill and the bad news writing.

Steve Miller, Writer of Stuff said...

Just head down the hall and turn left, back out into the Cinema Steve main lobby. Here, all you'll find are movie reviews and the occasional picture of a lovely actress in very little.