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'Dark Water' (2005)
Walter Salles' remake of Hideo Nakata's 2002 Japanese film maybe isn't an improvement, but it's definitely a surprisingly nuanced companion film that does some things very right. Rafael Yglesias' script has a strong emotional undercurrent to its story of a mother fighting to retain custody of her daughter even as her mental state may be slipping in the "crazy" direction. And with Jennifer Connelly giving one of her better post-Oscars performances, there's a very real anchor even as the obligatory supernatural stuff begins to go down. Still, what makes "Dark Water" most distinctive on its own terms is its use of Roosevelt Island, which provides a fittingly alienating backdrop and a setting that viewers haven't spent time in before. Some viewers and critics thought "Dark Water" was too gloomy and dour, but that's why it's so interesting.
- Daniel Fienberg