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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2005), PG-13 [R-13*] (1hr 37min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
July 10, 2005
51 out of 100

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Christian Long Distance

(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2005), PG-13 [R-13*] -- our 1000th film analysis!

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Post No Bills Films, Pandemonium Productions, Touchstone Pictures, Vertigo Entertainment
Distribution (US): Buena Vista Pictures
Director(s): Walter Salles
Producer(s): Doug Davison, Ashley Kramer, Roy Lee, Bill Mechanic, Diana Pokorny
Written by: Kôji Suzuki, Hideo Nakata, Takashige Ichise
Screenplay: Rafael Yglesias
Cinematography/Camera: Affonso Beato
Music: Angelo Badalamenti
Film Editing: Daniel Rezende
Casting: Mali Finn, Tina Gerussi, Kelli Lerner, Geoffrey Miclat, Carole Tarlington
Production Design: Thérèse DePrez
Art Direction: Nicholas Lundy, Andrew M. Stearn
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

I wish I was able to tell you this in a brighter light than Dark Water but this is our 1000th film analysis! We have collected massive analysis data. Massive. I can't wait until a champion steps up or a number of champions step up to provide long-term full funding for this ministry so we can not only continue this service and do so for many years but can compile all the data we have and do so in a professional package for the mental health communities of America as well as our more than 7,200,000 visitors.

No matter what the CAP scoring says and no matter what the MPAA rating is, this film had a six year old girl trying to murder another six year old girl. Also, a dead girl stole another girl's mother by murdering the mother. The bottom line to those elements of the plot and story is a child trying to and committing murder. In spite of any fantasy plot or story context, that is what the images showed. Such demonstrations of sin do little other than lower inhibitions and embolden.

Certainly everything in the movie is fantasy but Harvard educated child development expert psychologist professor Dr. Karen Nelson, practicing counselor Dr. Larry Gilliam and others agree with me that while the courts may think otherwise, it would be unusual for even a 16 year old to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality let alone be fully capable of anticipating the consequences of his/her actions. No matter what the MPAA says.

As the county prosecutor for the Heath High School, Paducah, Kentucky school shooting said, "Kids don't think up these things like these on their own." And God said "Evil communications corrupt good manners." [1 Cor. 15:33] In everyday English that means the influence of vile and unwholesome behavioral examples such as in Dark Water (and thousands of other films which are each "communications") corrupt decision-making skills, coping skills and behavior management. Someday someone will realize that feeding this sort of "entertainment" to our kids (which includes at-home teens) does generate aberrant thinking which generates aberrant behavior. Five professional health organizations have have declared that finding, too. When are we going to listen?

Just a note, mom/dad. Censorship does not belong in the theaters or with the government or any other exo-familial entity. It belongs with you. Don't be afraid to exercise it. With the service we provide, you now have the tools to effectively and fairly make an informed moral decision on your own whether to exercise your authority to censor what your child(ren) see and hear in and as entertainment. Do it! For their sakes. And yours since One day you will be answering to God for your management of the children He gave you. Ouch! That comment is no more pointed at you than it is at myself. I am a parent, too, and I, too, will answer to God as well for the poor parenting choices I have made.

The story opens in Seattle of 1974 where young Dahlia Williams (Perla Haney-Jardine) was repeatedly forgotten by her mother (Elina Löwensohn). Feeling abandoned, Dahlia grew up with issues.

Jumping ahead to 2005 in New York City, we find Manhattanite Dahlia (Jennifer Connely) is with a six year old daughter, Cecilia "Ceci" (Ariel Gage) by hubby Kyle (Dougray Scott). Ceci is in the middle of a marital warfare battlefield.

Choosing separation from her husband to find peace, Dahlia finds a "cheap" apartment on the Roosevelt Island in East River from Manhattan. In a once opulent, now well-used complex of community-living apartment buildings, Dahlia and Ceci move into apartment F on the ninth floor and try to make the best of a bad situation.

Fortune seems to be smiling on Dahlia and Ceci. Ceci is able to attend one of the finest schools in the New York/New Jersey metro and Dahlia has work at Sutton Place Radiology, both within minutes of their new old apartment. Life is good again. A little poor but good. And comfortable.

It isn't long before things become not so comfy. The tenuous warm-n-fuzzy the mother-daughter pair were grasping for becomes more brittle each day. As Brook Benton's "Rainy Night in Georgia" says, it seemed to be raining all over the world. All the time. Sometimes indoors. Torrential rain. Murderous rain.

About a month ago, the husband, wife and 6-year old daughter occupants of 10F directly above Dahlia and Ceci mysteriously disappeared. During the empty time, resident teens Billy and Steve (Matthew Lemche, the only one of these two who had a speaking part and credit), local "punks" as building attendant Mr. Veeck (Pete Postlethwaite) called them who acted the label well, were suspected of breaking into 10F and doing drugs and turning water faucets on and leaving them on.

Steve and Billy were suspected of leaving the water on in 10F because Dahlia noticed water coming through her bedroom ceiling. After a couple failed attempts to get repairs done, Dahlia took the bull by the horns and began inspecting the trouble herself. Going to 10F and finding the door ajar, Dahlia finds herself wading through standing water throughout the apartment.

Ceci enjoys her new school ... and her new imaginary friend. Note that the filmmakers played a little psychology with Ceci having imaginary friend. I am not a psychologist but I know it would be wise to not take a fantasy filmmaker's word about a mental issue. This commentary is not intended to be an insult to your intelligence. We deal with thousands of folks, some of whom are, by their own admission, have been victimized unawares by nuggets of "wisdom" espoused in entertainment. If your child(ren) were to develop an imaginary friend and you become concerned about it as did the characters in this story, talk to the professionals about it without a shred of thought given to what you heard the movies. All too often, some impressionable folks, especially youth, give so much credit to what they see and hear in the movies as being "real world" that they become comfortable with it and tend to adopt it.

Ceci's imaginary friend has a voice. Ceci hears it. And Dahlia begins to hear it. The voice belongs to six year old Natasha (Perla Haney-Jardine), the missing daughter of the couple who deserted apartment 10F. Natasha is the spitting image of Dahlia at six years old.

As all this happens, water seeps and sometimes floods into the story in several ways. One is the nonstop infernal, mood-darkening rain. Another is a recurring leak in Dahlia's bedroom ceiling from 10F above. And there is the flooding of 10F. And the rain inside 10F. Yet more comes from every faucet in 10F being opened and left open. Water, water everywhere! Yet more water is found in the reservoir tank atop the apartment building which has an unsecured access door on its roof, very conveniently at the top of a ladder up the side of the tank. The ladder has rungs close together, close enough for a six tear old girl to climb.

If this sounds a little boring so far it is because the film, subjectively speaking, is a little boring. But I suspect it is not intended to be a high-energy film. There is high energy in it, though. High negative energy [Ps. 12:8. 1 Cor. 15:33]. In addition to this film presenting a little girl trying to murder another little girl and murdering a woman, there is a session where a little girl shows disrespect to an adult who returns her disrespect with speaking foul words at her [1Tim. 4:12].

There is a vulgar moment as two punks make a lewd comment about the attractiveness of the mother [Matt. 5:28, Eph. 5:4, 1 Sam. 3:13]. Hearing a little girl thumping in a loaded washing machine then suddenly appearing in the view window is disturbing. And being a thriller with unholy aspects such as the possession of a little girl by her imaginary friend and a dead mother reappearing with the dead girl might make this film a hard risk for the spiritual development and understanding of your child(ren). And for your child(ren) to be influenced in this way invokes Luke 17:2 and Matt. 25:40.

With a final score of 51, this 97-minute film earned a "coveted" R-13 score. While the Sexual Immorality (S), Drugs/Alcohol (D) and Murder/Suicide (M) CAP investigation areas found material equivalent to many G-rated movies, the Wanton Violence/Crime (W), Impudence/Hate (I) and Offense to God (O) CAP investigation areas found programming equivalent to some R-rated films.


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  • 1Tim. 4:12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
  • Matt. 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • 1 Sam. 3:13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. [While 1 Sam. 3:13 is speaking to the father of vile sons who let them be that way, it is not the same that we let our "sons" be so influenced by the emboldening of them with such vileness in and as entertainment?]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it].
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among you], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. ["Offend": skandalizo - to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away. "Little ones": mikros - little;, small of age; younger which can include at-home teens].
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model)

    Dark Water (2005) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • constant sense of doom/terror
  • imaginary friend becoming an obsession
  • explosive startle - live body in washing machine
  • flash images of terror
  • child falling into and drowning in a water tank
  • dead child underwater
  • child trying to murder another child by drowning
  • plumbing attacking a woman by unholy forces

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • eight uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • child wandering off without supervision on the roof of a high rise building
  • lying, repeatedly, including child to mother
  • flashbacks of a mother spitting "I hate you" to her daughter
  • child calling adult a liar
  • adult cursing at a child
  • teen arrogance at fair authority
  • teen punk harassment of a woman

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • woman and daughter in bathtub
  • vulgar "I'd like to ..." comment by teen punks about a woman

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)
  • divorce/separation proceedings with arguments
  • phantom image of little girl with the living
  • voices, repeatedly
  • indoor rain
  • unholy possession of little girl
  • unholy manifestations in plumbing, repeatedly
  • shower door closing by itself
  • spirit of dead girl appearing in flesh
  • phantoms of woman and little girl
  • door closing by itself
  • dead mother reappearing to talk to daughter then disappearing

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • murder by drowning with deluge of rain indoors

  • First Impressions and

    Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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