Skip to main content


Japan, 2001 (MIFF 2002, Regional Focus)

Director: Hideo Nakata

"From the director of the superb Ring and Ring 2. A young mother is plagued by visions of the ghostly presence of a drowned girl which seem to strip away the reassuring surfaces of modern-day Japan to reveal an alternative world of fear and superstition. But while Ring's horror involved a widening circle of connections spreading out through society, Dark Water's haunting is restricted to a single block of flats, into which the recently-divorced Yoshimi moves with her six-year-old daughter Ikuku. Dark Water is an absorbing, rewarding chiller, exploring primal grief and abandonment fears." - LA Times

The ambiguity of Dark Water is in determining whether a true haunting is being witnessed or whether we are seeing the mental decline of a struggling solo mum going through a messy divorce. Even without seemingly supernatural occurrences, the apartment block they move to looks like it belongs in an outer circle of hell. Yoshimi had a prior breakdown working as a proofreader of violent and sadistic horror novels - her husband is on the lookout for any reason to get custody of Ikuku. Dark Water is an adaptation of a novel by 'the Japanese Stephen King', Koji Suzuki, who also wrote the Ring films.

Hideo Nakata (born in Okayama, 1961) joined Japanese mega-studio Nikkatsu as an assistant director after graduating from Tokyo University. He debuted in 1996 with Ghost Actress and has specialised in genre films with the exception of the documentary Joseph Losey: The Man with Four Names (1998).

See also...


"Shunji Iwai achieved international recognition with Love Letter (1995) and April Story (MIFF 1999), and with this quietly devastating, often hauntingly beautiful portrait of troubled youth, he has ... More »


"Okatsu is a widow raising five children - adults but still mama-dependent - in mid-eighteenth century Edo, Japan. Her frugality attracts unflattering comment even amid national tough times (the ... More »


"Watching Suicide Club is a special experience indeed. What to think of an opening sequence in which 54 uniformed schoolgirls commit simultaneous suicide in front of a train at Shinjuku station ... More »


Blue Spring is about high school anarchy, hairstyles and rock'n'roll. In a school where the students set the rules while teachers are dangled from windows, students play a deadly game of chicken to ... More »


A prison movie like no other, this amiable biographical film is a sheer delight. Cult manga author Hanawa Kazuichi spend three years in jail, for possession of replica guns he used in simulated ... More »

Lakeside Murder Case

[Lakeside Murder Case], directed by Aoyama Shinji ([Eureka], MIFF 00), is a dark, multilayered psychodrama wrapped around a murder mystery. Probing the ills of the Japanese education system and the ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director