Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dark Water (2005) - Review

Some kinds of horror movies are just bad. You don't expect anything from a Syfy movie so it's hard to feel like you wasted your time, because hey, you know what you signed up for. But with movies like Dark Water, it's a different kind of bad. It's competently made, the atmosphere seems sort of creepy, and the acting is actually mostly good. But for some reason, it's still a pretty awful movie, and it manages to feel like more of a waste of time than any Syfy or Chiller movie could.

But why is that? Could it be because of the terrible script that doesn't know what it wants to do? Or maybe it's the clumsy direction that can't decide whether it wants to be a generic jump-scare fest or more of a psychological horror. Ultimately it opts for neither. The best way to describe this film is aimless. There's a plot, and it sort of has a beginning, middle, and end, but it doesn't really progress in a logical way and seems really confusing despite the simple story. It's essentially a haunted hotel movie, but that begs the question: why doesn't Jennifer Connelly take her daughter and leave? I get that they're hurting financially but it seems like they'd be able to stay with a friend in the event of a ghost tormenting them. With water. That's another thing; the film tries desperately to establish a frightening atmosphere, but it really doesn't know how. Its scenes just ramble on, devoid of any tension save for one sequence early in the film when Connelly first goes to check on the floor upstairs.

The characters are lacking in just about every way. First of all, there aren't enough if the film was trying to legitimately establish a "whodunnit" feel to it. There are really one, maybe two suspects throughout the whole movie. That wouldn't be such a big deal if any of the characters were developed in any way, but there are no character-building moments throughout the entire movie. It's all completely exposition, which makes every character incredibly boring and takes the scene at the end, which should have been bittersweet, but makes it annoying and tedious instead.

This is just a poorly executed movie; it has a couple creepy ideas and I think that a ghost who can manipulate water is a decent concept. But really the film doesn't know what it wants to do and instead settles for doing nothing. Just about everything in the movie reeks of forgettable, and that's pretty much the worst thing a movie can do. Just stick to The Ring, if for some reason you enjoy the evil little ghost girl routine.

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