Picks and Pans Review: Dark Water

UPDATED 07/18/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/18/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Dougray Scott, Tim Roth

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Plumbers will love this movie as a cautionary tale. When a woman fails to get a leak in the bedroom ceiling of her new apartment repaired promptly in Dark Water, an atmospheric remake of a 2002 Japanese horror film, nasty stuff starts happening.

While rarely jump-in-your-seat scary, the movie is consistently creepy, leaving viewers unsure how much of the watery woe might be paranoid delusions suffered by Dahlia Williams (Connelly). She has moved into the apartment on New York City's Roosevelt Island with her young daughter (Ariel Gade) following an acrimonious split from her husband (Scott). The child soon forms an intense relationship with an imaginary friend whom only she can see. Meanwhile, the more that brackish, black water drips down, the more Mom suffers from her own visions, flashing back to her miserable childhood.

Brazilian-born director Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) clearly is most intrigued by Dark's psychological aspects and ambiguous characters. He is well served by an anxious Connelly, who effectively keeps audiences guessing as to just how fragile her character's psyche maybe. Ultimately, though, one can't help feeling that these two (and the accomplished supporting cast) have harnessed their sizable talents to a decidedly minor vehicle. (PG-13)

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