Road Rash Reviews

Dark Water (2002) 4K UHD Blu-ray Review****-

Cert 15 | 101 mins | 2024

4 star atmospheric and eerie horror tale.

Dark Water is a Japanese supernatural horror drama film originally released in 2002. It is based on the short story by Ring author Koji Suzuki.

Written and directed by Hideo Nakata (Sadako, Stolen Identity), it has enjoyed a 4K restoration courtesy of Arrow Video and is available on Limited Edition 4K UHD Blu-ray from 18th March 2024.

“I think that it might be a plumbing leak or something from somewhere above us…That’s what I thought, so I went up and  checked but no-one answered.”

Yoshimi (Hitomi KurokiWhen Marnie Was There) is a young mother going through a divorce from her husband Hamada (Fumiyo Kohinata – Audition, Outrage) who is contesting custody of their five year old daughter Ikuko (Rio Kanno – Noroi, Lesson of the Evil). He cites previous mental illness as the reason, but she is recovered and her lawyer Kishida (Shigemitsu Ogi – Babel, Alice in Borderland) sees no reason why she shouldn’t be able to keep Ikuko.

She finds them an apartment in a rundown old building, which is big enough for the two of them. A live-in building manager, Mr. Kamiya (Isao YatsuJu-On: The Grudge) offers peace of mind and estate agent Ohta (Yû Tokui – Your Turn to Kill) assures her that despite the age of the building it is perfectly suitable.

She finds herself a job and they settle in, but alongside the day to day struggle of raising a child and holding down a job, she begins to notice problems with the apartment. There is a large and ominous water stain on the ceiling which drips into the bedroom and gets bigger each day. Ikuko finds a red bag which Yoshimi gets rid of but keeps turning back up and she has started to display strange behaviour.

As Yoshimi battles her demons and fights to retain her sanity, can she find out the secret of the apartment block in time to save herself and keep custody of her young daughter?

“What are you doing? You didn’t even go to pick her up.! Waiting there all alone…Do you know how that feels?!”

Dark Water is a very enjoyable watch, disturbing and well thought out. It’s not an out and out horror, rather a slow building of tension with moments of true horror in between. The acting performances are superb, especially Rio Kanno and you really feel for this mother and daughter who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The location is scary in it’s own right and the water constantly dripping and seeping everywhere is truly unsettling. If you’re a fan of Japanese horror then you won’t find this formula unusual and it’s fairly predictable, although it does have a nice twist.

The 4K restoration looks good and complements the film rather than killing off the atmosphere. Don’t expect it to be entirely crispy, a lot of action takes place in the dark and that is still a little grainy, but it just adds to the tension.  The soundtrack also sounds really good and very creepy, with water sounds running all the way through.

An excellent release with plenty of special features and well worth adding to your collection.

“Lately, I’ve heard that Ikuko has been behaving strangely. Apparently she talks to herself a lot. I also hear that you’re divorced. That must be affecting her. We see this often in the children of divorced parents.”

Dark Water is available to buy on Limited Edition 4K UHD from 18th March 2024.


• 4K (2160p) Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
• Original lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
• Optional English subtitles
• Ghosts, Rings and Water – interview with director Hideo Nakata
• Family Terrors – interview with author Koji Suzuki
• Visualizing Horror – interview with cinematographer Junichiro Hayashi
• Archive interviews with actors Hitomi Kuroki & Asami Mizukawa and theme song artist Shikao Suga
• Original ‘making-of’ documentary
• Trailers and TV Spots
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain
• Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by David Kalat and Michael Gingold

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DirectorHideo Nakata
StarringHitomi Kuroki, Mirei Oguchi, Asami Mizukawa