The Film (4/5)
It is sort of funny associating a whole genre with a format, but for many people slasher films are a VHS thing because many of us saw these initially during the VHS era. Oddly, I associate the giallo and Japanese ghost stories with DVD. The latter of which popularized by films like Ring and Ju-On, were big business during the early years of DVD, but have not seem much of a life during Blu-ray. The tide appears to be changing with this month's Arrow Video release of Hideo Nakata's Dark Water and their upcoming release of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Pulse.
Dark Water follows a newly divorced woman, Yoshimi, who has just moved into a small apartment with her young daughter, Ikuko. Soon after arrival she notices a damp spot on her ceiling, and attempts to report it to no avail. Soon after the pair begin to notice a strange young girl in a yellow rain slicker, and other weird goings on. Also, Ikuko's behavior begins to change, and this all occurs while a custody battle goes on for the young girl.
The film at times feels like a Japanese-supernatural version of Nicholas Roeg's Don't Look Now, with a similar mix of melancholy and horror that permeated the earlier Roeg film. The film is a slow piece, that builds up nicely during the films running time. This helps contribute to the film's overall atmosphere. This is also contributed to by the film's creepy near abandoned apartment building location, which in its own way becomes a character in the film.
Arrow presents Dark Water in a solid 1:85:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer that preserves the films OAR. Dark Water doesn't have most engaging color palette mostly drab blacks and grays, and that is certainly reflected and reproduced here. The reds in the shoulder bag come across nicely, and the film does have nice detail, and solid blacks, but don't expect too much visually.
The audio is presented with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track in Japanese. The track is quite solid with dialogue and score coming through crisp and clear.
Arrow have created an impressive extras package for Dark Water. The Blu-ray contains multiple new and archival interviews with the creative team behind the film's creation. There are also trailers, teasers. TV spots, and a booklet of liner notes as well.
It is awesome to finally be getting some real turn of the millennium Japanese horror on Blu-ray, and Dark Water is quite a decent film to start with. The Blu-ray has a decent transfer, and solid extras. RECOMMENDED.