The task this month is to read or watch something scary, spooky, or suspenseful, and Japanese of course!

Immediately after I had read about this 1st Hello Japan! mini-challenge on October 2nd, I ran to to the video store and rented the dvd of Dark Water, a horror movie directed by Hideo Nakata. It has been on my wish list for a long time — I guess ever since I saw Nakata’s 4 movie cycle of Ringu (or Ring). Ringu posterNow, you need to know I am not really a scary-movie-grrl… I can manage maybe 3 of ‘em a year ;) But I was fascinated by Ringu, especially compared to the not-so-impressive The Ring, an American remake by ‘Pirate of the Caribbean’ Gore Verbinski. I found the Japanese original really chilling. I still shudder when I think back  — without spoiling anything — to a certain scene in a well, or how  ‘the girl’ moved… Even though many years have passed since I saw it!

The American version did absolutely nothing to me. I guess Japanese film language is much more frightening! ;)

But I am getting sidetracked… It wasn’t Ringu I watched for the mini challenge, but Dark Water, or Honogurai mizu no soko kara (I love the sound of those Japanese titles ;)

Dark Water got rehashed in the US as well, by Walter Salles. I thought the main character was played by Jodie Foster, but it appears I’m confusing her with Jennifer Connelly — what on earth made that happen? A while ago I started watching the remake on tv, until I remembered my experiences with The Ring — and decided I should wait until I had seen the Japanese original.

A woman and her young daughter move to an eerie, run-down apartment building pending the decision of guardianship after a divorce. The ceiling of their ‘new’ flat has an active, dark leak. In the upstairs apartment, which appears to be the source of the leakage, used to live another young girl that went missing more than a year before…

Dark Water posterI enjoyed watching Dark Water. It find it an entertaining movie, even though I was never terrified during the film, just a little tensed sometimes. The story is more… gross, and above all SAD. Because of that it made me think of a book I like a lot: Strangers, by Taichi Yamada. I didn’t find that ghost story horrifying either — and it moved me to tears. I figure there’s a certain distinction between Japanese ghost movies and horror, in which tragedy plays a main part!

I really love the idea of these Japan related mini missions and plan to do all of them. When do you think our host tanabata will challenge us to go to Japan?? :))

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