Monday, July 11, 2011

Dark Water [2002] Pt.2

Things aren't looking up for Yoshimi. She gets held up applying for a job at a publisher while her daughter waits at the school. Again. And its gloomy and raining again too. She has a flashback to when she was a little girl, sitting at a table. A woman answers the phone. Apparently they're trying to find her father.
Poor orphan

[Roughly translated]
Woman: Yoshimi, today we're trying to find your dad, so just wait a little longer, k?
Yoshimi: What about mom?
Woman: Your mom? Well.....

The sky slowly darkens outside as night falls and the boss still hasn't gotten around to completing her interview. She needs this job, but Ikuko is alone at school... Finally one priority outweighs the other and she rushes out, hurriedly giving the boss a summary of her resume and taking off. By the time she gets to the school the place has been locked up. For a moment she catches her breath... and notices a Missing Child poster.
Mitsuko Kawai
Age: 5
Born 11/3/93
Height: 1.16m
Weight 20kg
Long black hair
Last seen on 7/14/99 wearing a yellow raincoat.
I wonder.....
She spots the father walking away with Ikuko and snatches her back. We get a touching scene between the two. "As long as I'm with you, everything will be alright," says Ikuko. And then a phone call comes in: Yoshimi gets the job! \(OワO)/

Oh but you know this can't last..... Ikuko takes her mother up to the roof where they find the red bag again. Something is up...
Later, in the bath Ikuko talks with a doll she made named Mitsuko. Hmmm....

The next day a game of hide-and-seek begins at school. Ikuko hides in a cupboard and sees a pair of feet approaching her. A pair of sodden feet.

Yoshimi gets a call from the school and rushes over in a cab. Ikuko lies in the clinic soaking wet and unconscious. Yoshimi gets a look at some student art on the walls and spots a familiar form complete with red bag.

Cut to Yoshimi speaking with the divorce mediators again. They ask her about being unable to pick Ikuko up on time. Afterward she confronts her husband about it and loses control, accusing him of leaving the red bag for her to find and attacking him in front of everyone.
Maybe it's from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni but I've always thought cicadas sound creepy.
The stain has expanded and it now stretches all the way to the edge of the bed. As Yoshimi dozes at Ikuko's bedside the water droplets begin to drip on her face and she has a vision of Mitsuko. Wearing her red bag and yellow raincoat she waits at school, no one coming to pick her up. She goes out into the rain and walks all the way home. Yoshimi wakes up to find the bed sodden and empty. A constant drip of water now falls on the pillow. What's with this child always wandering off? Her search takes her back up to the roof once more. While she is in the elevator she hears a little girl crying but she can't find the source. On the roof she catches a glimpse of someone wearing white go around the corner of the water tank. There she finds the red bag once again. She calls her husband, thinking he has their daughter again. She hears the pitter-patter of footsteps above once more and drops the phone, running up to investigate.
Well, now we know where all that water is coming from. All the taps are gushing water and the apartment is flooded. Ikuko emerges from the shadows while a silhouette of another girl appears on the wall.
Yoshimi does the sensible thing and gets the fuck out of there in a jiffy, but not before spotting that the previous apartment tenant was, of course, Mitsuko Kawai.
Her lawyer arrives to speak with her as she hurriedly packs to move out again. At his urging the manager and Realtor take a look at the apartment. He questions them about having neglected to fix the water leaks. When she leads them to where she found the red bag it has disappeared. The lawyer notices the water tank is rather dingy and asks him whether he regularly cleans it. The manager shrugs it off saying that's the water company's problem, not his. Nevertheless, repairmen arrive to repair the ceiling.

While eating dinner Ikuko remarks on the apartment's unclean water. Well, now we know why eh? That tank's never cleaned... tsk tsk. Later she finds the red bag inside Ikuko's backpack and demands to know where she got it. Ikuko insists she doesn't know how it got there. Yoshimi calls her lawyer but cannot reach him. Ikuko begins to open the bag when Yoshimi snatches it from her. A sudden vision comes to her of the bag floating to the surface of some water. She drops the bag, dazed. Something has occurred to her. Yoshimi orders her daughter to stay in the apartment while she ascends to the roof once more.

She finds the water tank overflowing. She places a hand on the water stream and receives another vision: young Mitsuko climbing the ladder to the top. AH, I think I see where this is going. Yoshimi climbs the ladder and notices that the last inspection notice is dated about the same time Mitsuko disappeared. She receives one more vision: Mitsuko, peering into the tank, dropped her favorite bag in. She falls in trying to retrieve it.

Meanwhile, Ikuko goes to get a glass of water from the tap when a lock of hair comes out. Startled, she drops the cup when the bathtub tap starts to gush murky water. The tub quickly fills up and begins to bubble and froth. Ikuko stares, mesmerized, before a pair of hands reach out and pull her head under the surface.

Yoshimi dashes back to the apartment and hears the flowing water. Filled with fear she enters the bathroom and finds her little girl unconscious on the floor, her long hair covering her face.
She runs to the elevator, which nows bursts with water. As she frantically presses the ground floor button she watches with horror as the apartment door behind her opens and a tiny hand pushes it wide....

Yoshimi makes the sacrifice, offering herself to be Mitsuko's mother. Ikuko watches as the elevator doors close and it ascends to the top floor, whereupon it releases a torrent of water and nothing else.

Years later, we see Ikuko as a teenager. She doesn't remember much from when she briefly lived with her mother. She wanders back to the old apartment complex, now abandoned. The apartment door is unlocked and, what's this? Everything looks so clean. It's almost as if someone lives here....

Hands down, this is one of the best J-horror films ever made. I mean DAMN! Give it a shot if you get the chance. The atmospheric tension and the minimalist score really bump this film up there as one of my favorites.

I know I spent, like, four posts harking the superiority of the J/K-horror genre but I'll make one more remark here. A lot of these movies have sorrow as the supporting theme under the horror. I think this works much better than action, a lesson Hollywood has been slow to pick up. I would go so far as to say the horror/drama is a more potent combination than the horror/thriller. Am I wrong on this? I think not. Natch. <(◡ ̄ゝ ̄)> *smug*