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Film: Dark Water (2002) – Cert 18 – Part of Grimmfest

Sunday 31st October at 5.45pm

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Director: Hideo Nakata, Producer: Takashige Ichise, Writer: Ken’ichi Suzuki, Yoshihiro Nakamura, (from the short story “Floating Water” by Koji Suzuki), Cinematographer: Jun’ichirô Hayashi, Editor: Nobuyuki Takahashi, Cast: Hitomi Kuroki, Rio Kanno, Mirei Oguchi, Asami Mizukawa, Fumiyo Kohinata.

Yoshimi is struggling to build a new life for herself as she navigates the final stages of a messy divorce and an ongoing custody battle. To make matters worse, the rundown towerblock apartment into which shehas moved with her young daughter seems to have a serious problem with damp…

Director Hideo Nakata’s earlier collaboration with writer Koji Suzuki, RINGU, was the film that really put Japanese horror on the international map; introducing an iconic movie monster, in the spectral Sadako, and featuring one of the most terrifying final sequences in modern horror cinema, it has spawned countless sequels, remakes, and an ongoing franchise which continues to this day. And as a result, their rather more low-key follow-up, DARK WATER, tends to get somewhat overlooked. Which is a serious injustice, because it’s a masterclass in mood-based supernatural horror, beautifully visualised and subtly played, making fine use of its dank and dingy towerblock locations; an urban Gothic ghost story with a strong social subtext, which offers a moving meditation on motherhood, moral responsibility, and sacrifice. And, of course, it’s creepy as all hell.

Screening as part of Japan 2020: Over 100 years of Japanese Cinema, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network. bfijapan.co.uk

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