In DARK WATER, a ghost story set in a spooky, rundown New York City apartment, the apparently malevolent ghost of a child haunts a divorced woman and her young daughter. DARK WATER is well-made, well-acted and creepy, but its occult, pagan worldview about ghosts is frightening and abhorrent.
DARK WATER is one of the more literate ghost and horror movies in recent years, but there is no denying its occult worldview. Its worldview is based in the pagan superstitions of Japan, because it is, in fact, a remake of a Japanese movie. Both the Japanese movie and this American movie are based on a Japanese novel.
The movie opens with Dahlia Williams and her husband, Kyle, fighting over the custody of their young daughter, Ceci (short for Cecilia). In the midst of their divorce, Kyle wants Dahlia and Ceci to live near him in Jersey City, where he has found a cheap apartment outside of Manhattan. Dahlia doesn’t want to move that far away from Manhattan, however. She accuses Kyle of wanting to be near his girlfriend who, apparently, broke up their marriage. So, Dahlia settles for a cheap, but small apartment on Roosevelt Island, just five or ten minutes from Manhattan.
In their spooky, rain-drenched new apartment, Dahlia and her daughter are soon haunted by the ghost of a missing little girl. A couple of teenage boys also harass Dahlia. The building’s manager and the landlord are no help, of course. Dahlia must solve the mystery of the girl’s disappearance, and the deadly desires of the girl’s ghost, on her own, in order to protect her daughter’s own life.
DARK WATER is not a great movie, but, unlike many other horror movies lately, its excellent acting, atmosphere and craftsmanship are compelling. Jennifer Connelly and Ariel Gade as Dahlia and Ceci are especially good.
The movie’s occult worldview is abhorrent, however. It assumes the existence of ghosts who can come back and haunt other people, including lure people to their death, or even help and comfort them.
Despite his humanist worldview, psychologist Sigmund Freud addresses the pagan/occult mind in his book TOTEM AND TABOO. There, Freud proposes that pagan/occult superstitions about fearing and appeasing dead people and their ghosts stem from the natural (and, as the Bible teaches, sinful) emotional ambivalence we feel for people when they were alive. Even if the person dies a natural death, the pagan believes that he or she may have, at some point, wished the person to die. This voluntary or involuntary desire results in guilt and fear that the dead person’s ghost may return to avenge its death.
Thus, in many ghost stories from many different cultures and ages, the ghost haunting the protagonists is haunting them because of some wrong done to the dead person when they were alive. Such is the case with DARK WATER and many other modern ghost movies. DARK WATER also posits, however, that some ghosts are benevolent. All of these pagan, occult beliefs about ghosts contradict God’s commandments, which adamantly forbid us in Deut. 18:9-14 and other passages to consult spirits or dead people. Regrettably, beliefs about ghosts are rampant in both the United States and Japan, the origin of this particular ghost story.
(PaPa, OOO, B, C, LL, VV, AA, D, MM) Mixed, but strong and ultimately sad, pagan worldview with very strong occult content concerning ghosts, some disturbing family characters and situations concerning neglectful, distraught and angry mothers and fathers, also with some positive but contradictory elements concerning positive parental figures and the theme of parental love, as well as redemptive issues of sacrifice in an occult and a mixed pagan setting that, nevertheless, may be given a symbolic, allegorical Christian analysis; eight obscenities (no "f" words), four strong profanities, three light profanities, and dirty water floods toilets (it may remind people of sewage, but it's not sewage, just dirty rain water); some scary but not graphic violence includes implied child drowning, another child threatened with drowning, ghostly water attacks woman, apparent corpse of child in premonition after-the-fact of her drowning, violent shouting between divorcing couple, menacing ghost, menacing apartment building, and menacing teenage boys; no sex scenes but woman mentions her ex-husband's mistress a couple times during intense, informal custody/divorce proceedings; no nudity; alcohol use and references to two allegedly alcoholic parents, one of whom is the older heroine's mother; smoking; and, lying, issues of parents abandoning their children, juvenile delinquency, hiding a possible crime exposed, girl plays with Buddhist prayer drum but there are no references to Buddhism or Buddha in the movie, and scary atmosphere with creepy characters who might seem ready to explode into violence to some people.
DARK WATER, a ghost story set in New York City, opens with Dahlia Williams and her husband, Kyle, fighting over the custody of their young daughter, Ceci (short for Cecilia). Dahlia decides to live further away from Kyle than he wants, on Roosevelt Island near Manhattan. In their spooky, rain-drenched new apartment, Dahlia and Ceci are soon haunted by the ghost of a missing little girl. A couple teenage boys also harass Dahlia. The super downstairs and the landlord are no help, of course. Dahlia must solve the mystery of the girl's disappearance, and the deadly desires of the girl's ghost, in order to protect her daughter's life.
DARK WATER is not a great movie, but, unlike many other horror movies lately, its excellent acting, atmosphere and craftsmanship are compelling. Jennifer Connelly and Ariel Gade as Dahlia and Ceci are especially good. The movie's occult worldview is abhorrent, however. It assumes the existence of ghosts who can come back and haunt people, including lure people to their death, or even help and comfort them. The movie's occult story contradicts God's commandments, which adamantly forbid us in Deut. 18:9-14 top consult spirits or dead people.