***½/**** Image A Sound A Extras C+
starring Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Tim Roth, Dougray Scott
screenplay by Rafael Yglesias, based on the novel by Koji Suzuki
directed by Walter Salles
by Walter Chaw Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly) is having a nightmare. Dark water's flooding into the ramshackle apartment she's been forced to rent with young daughter Ceci (Ariel Gade) now that husband Kyle (Dougray Scott) has left her for another woman, where she encounters the visage of her spiteful alcoholic mother. Connelly's performance throughout, but especially within these few seconds, is so complex, so almost-physically wrenching, that the knowledge that Dark Water was badly-marketed, critically-savaged, and largely-ignored stings all the more. Specifically, the moment in question underscores how far from the usual supernatural thriller this picture aspires to be: a ghost story in which the hauntings are golems of the soul instead of ectoplasm, cold spots, and rattling chains. In many ways, Dark Water works as an update of Jack Clayton's The Innocents, another story of a single woman in a strange place, beset by children and other reptiles of the spirit. And in return, that image of corrupt water invading a woman's place of sanctuary with her daughter, already laden with archetype, gets a bracing shot of genre smarts.