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Having just divorced her husband (Fumiyo Kohinata) & stil fighting
with her husband over custody for 6-year old Ikuko (Rio Kanno), Yoshimi
(Hitomi Kuroki) moves into a new appartment with her little daughter that
seemed to be a real bargain upon buying. But soon Yoshimi has her first
doubts if the bargain was really that good - not that it would be anything
big at first, only water dripping from the ceiling, a moldy spot on the
wall, ... soon though Yoshimi starts catching glimpses of a little girl in
a yellow raincoat who just shouldn't be there - & isn't at second look
-, & a red children's bag keeps reappearing.
gets an idea who that little girl in the yellow raincoat might be: Mitsuko
(Mirei Oguchi), a little girl who disappeared 2 years ago, who went to the
same kindergarten her daughter visits now, & who lived in the
appartment directly above them.
But while nobody knows what has
happened to her, Mitsuko continues to haunt both Yoshimi & Ikuko,
eventually causing Ikuko to collaps in kindergarten, later causing her to
sleepwalk into the appartment above. & when Yoshimi, half mad with
desperation, finds her there, she finds the appartment under water since
all the water taps are turned on (& most probably have been for some
while). Furthermore, Yoshimi thinks she has seen Mitsuko near the
watertower of the appartment buildings roof.
All this seems almost
enough to drive Yoshimi mad, only Kishida (Shigemitsu Ogi), her lawyer in
the custody case, finds logical explanations for everything ... which is
not good enough, since the next night Yoshimi realizes to get to the
bottom of it all, she herself has to climb the watertower ... & doing
that finds out that Mitsuko herself did the same thing 2 years ago, but
fell into it, drowned, & her body has been there ever since.
Yoshimi is still beginning to realize this though Mitsuko tries to drown
little Ikuko in the bathtub which has mysteriously filled itself ...
Yoshimi can save her in the nick of time, but when she runs off with her,
she has to realize it's not her daughter she has saved but Mitsuko, &
Mitsuko has only one idea - to make Yoshimi her mother. Realitzing this is
the only way to save her daughter, Yoshimi gives in ... & Ikuko has to
helplessly watch her mom disappear into the netherworld ...
later, teenage Ikuko (now played by Asami Mizukawa) returns to her
childhood appartment & finds ... her mother. Filled with joy, she
wants to move in again, but has to realize her mom is nothing more than a
ghost, stil shielding her daughter from Mitsuko ...
rather late in the movie, not all that much happens, but that doesn't mean
that the movie is without suspense.- it is actually quite astounding how
much menace the film manages to put into trivial things like dripping
water, yellow raincoats or red children's handbags, creating a creepy
atmosphere out of almost nothing. The deliberately slow but suspenseful
pace only contributes to the overall feeling of the film.
Rio Kanno by
the way gives a remarkable performance despite being just a little kid.
thought it to be a good idea to remake this movie as Dark Water -
directed by Walter Salles, starring Jennifer Conelly - in