Dark Water (Honogurai mizu no soko kara) is a full-length Japanese horror movie that was released in 2002. The movie was directed by one of Japan’s most popular new horror directors, Hideo Nakata. Nakata directed both Ringu and Ringu 2, which went on to because huge hits in Japan. The American remakes, The Ring and The Ring 2, also went on to become extremely huge box-office hits. Dark Water is based on a short story that was written by Koji Suzuki. Floating Water is the name of the short story and was released in 1996.
Yoshimi Matsubara is in the middle of a very nasty divorce. Because of the divorce, she is forced to take her daughter, Ikuko, and move into a derelict apartment building. Shortly after moving in, they realize that the ceiling leaks. Yoshimi thinks nothing of it at first. Ikuko then finds a strange red bag up on the rooftop of the building. Yoshimi finds it strange but does not get worried by the discovery. Eventually, Yoshimi figures out that the leak in her ceiling is coming from the apartment overhead, which is where a young girl has mysteriously disappeared. The girl is named Mitsuko Kawai and is the same age as Ikuko. The rumor is that she was just left at the apartment by her mother and was abandoned. Nobody remembered seeing her in over a year.
Strange things start to happen, such as the bag continually reappearing after Yoshimi disposes of it, hair showing up in the tap water, and the leak on the ceiling getting bigger. Yoshimi goes upstairs again and sees that there is water pouring from the walls. She starts to wonder if she is going insane. She is cautioned by her lawyer about her hysteria. If she gets too worked up, her ex-husband will be able to convince the judge to give their daughter to him. The lawyer tells Yoshimi that he is sure that it is merely someone playing a trick on her.
Finally, one evening, Yoshimi finds herself on the roof. She walks to the water tank and is suddenly struck with the realization that she knows what happened to Mitsuko. The little girl had been playing on the roof when her bag fell into the water tank. When she reached in to get it, she fell in and drowned. The tank, Yoshimi realizes, has become a holding pit for Mitsuko’s soul. And Mitsuko, who just wants to be loved, is trying to find a replacement for her runaway mother. She has chosen Yoshimi.
Yoshimi realizes that in order for her to be Mitsuko’s mother, Mitsuko will believe that she has to get rid of Ikuko so she rushes to save her daughter. Ikuko is, indeed, in danger of drowning, but Yoshimi manages to rescue her. A girl is chasing her and Yoshimi gets into the elevator. Shortly before the door closes she sees that it is, in fact, Ikuko that is chasing after her. She looks down at the girl with her and realizes that it is actually Mitsuko that she has with her.
The film ends with Ikuko visiting her mother in the apartment building. She is 16. She begs to stay with her mother, but her mother says she can not. Mitsuko appears behind Ikuko, but when she turns around, no one is there.