copyright 2008, Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media
Jump Cut
, No. 50, spring 2008

Dread of mothering:
plumbing the depths of Dark Water

by Nina K. Martin

Hideo Nakata’s 2002 Japanese horror film Dark Water continues a theme formulated in his previous film Ringu (1998), in which the struggles of single working mothers — the heroines of both films — are visually expressed through the walls and spaces these broken families inhabit. In each film, a child haunts the heroine, a ghost born of both violence and neglect, and the only healing force seems to be a mother’s love. However, the psyches of these heroines are waging a violent battle within their home environments as these kaiden, or vengeful child specters, throw into horrifying perspective the demands that traditional ideals of mothering enact on these besieged women.

Dark Water takes place primarily in the confines of a dismal concrete apartment building, as the newly separated Yoshimi and her 5-year-old daughter, Ikuko, attempt to start anew. The grey walls and endless hallways of their new home highlight the bleakness Yoshimi now faces as she must quickly find employment while enmeshed in a bitter custody battle. As the young mother struggles to care for her small daughter, her fragile mental state is revealed through the persistent deterioration of her apartment building — manifested through the omnipresence of leaking ceilings, broken elevators, cracking wallpaper, and faulty plumbing. The film’s manipulation of mise-en-scène suggests that with the pressures placed on women as mothers, the home and its environs embody a dread that cannot be escaped.

Hollywood studios have remade both Ringu and Dark Water, transforming some of the Japanese films' cultural specificity, and employing new settings, stars, and many typical Hollywood horror conventions. This essay will focus exclusively on Dark Water, Nakata’s Japanese thriller — for my reading of the film’s uncanny elements and use of architecture is dependent on some distinctly Japanese cultural traditions. Still, what I hope to point out is that the backlash against single working mothers is a global issue. The portrayal, struggle and redemption of its female protagonist is contingent on her acquiescing to and embracing an idealized feminine role — the self-sacrificing mother. Visual tensions connote this struggle between the normally clean, safe realms of the home and school, and the invasive “dark water” that floods Yoshimi and Ikuko’s apartment, streaming down walls and relentlessly boring through ceilings. This overwhelming force not only dissolves the barriers between the living and the dead, the safe and the threatened, but it also renders the typically stable walls of the apartment building porous and permeable. The water's intrusion into the security of the home reflects the bleeding of social roles that contemporary Japanese women must face as they juggle work with motherhood.

This essay continues my work of exploring interconnections between architectural space, femininity, and cultural anxiety, where the buildings and settings of certain films not only stand in as physical manifestations of female subjectivity, but often the mise en scene overshadows the human characters within the film’s diegesis. As one reviewer explains:

"My apartment is alive and I know it has lots of stories. But this makes sense seeing as it is an unrefurbished tenement. Hideo Nakata understands the concept of the old building that is alive and chose to set his film Dark Water in this type of location: an old, moldy, concrete apartment building. Nakata realizes that often times in horror, the location is an additional character in the cast — often co-starring."[1][open endnotes in new window]

Forgoing the special effects “pyrotechnics” common to U.S. horror cinema, Nakata employs subtler cinematic techniques, primarily through manipulating shot composition, in order to bring the setting to the film’s forefront and to situate its mother/daughter protagonists as outsiders, isolated and alone. As the film opens, a long shot reveals a young Japanese girl sitting forlornly in front of giant windows, her back to the camera, as she watches children meeting their parents in the midst of a torrential downpour. Her concerned teacher asks her, “Yoshimi…no one’s come for you?” In this shot/reverse shot, the camera slowly pulls back from the young girl’s solemn gaze as she realizes that she has been abandoned by her mother and father. The young girl turns out to be Yoshimi as a child; the memory, despite its grim quality, is bathed in a warm golden light in sharp contrast to the stark blues and greys of the rest of the film. Yoshimi twice recalls this lonely moment of waiting: as she stares at the outside downpour while waiting for a custody meeting with her ex-husband’s lawyers, and again when she is forced to wait at a job interview for a publishing company. Both of these moments, drawing sharply on Yoshimi’s failures as wife, worker, and mother, are meant as commentary on her childhood experiences of loneliness and abandonment.

This narrative of parental neglect is repeated several times in Dark Water, always by visually situating a young Japanese girl — either a younger Yoshimi, her daughter Ikuko, or the missing Mitsuko — as an outsider from the group, staring at the rain as if it formed an unbreachable boundary, confining her to a life of isolation. The camera consistently works to alienate the female protagonists in their environments, framing them turned away from the camera and in a long shot, often situated in doorways or looking out of windows. Hideo Nakata’s repetition of disquieting images is deliberate, for the film uses the uncanny trope of the doppelganger. It doubles and triples images and blurs the past into present, in order to show the cycle of neglect that impinges on these young heroines.

Crosscutting scenes illustrate visual connections between these characters and also highlight the cycle of guilt under which Yoshimi must suffer. For instance, when Ikuko is left waiting at the kindergarten for her mother Yoshimi, who is trapped at an interminable job interview as she desperately seeks employment, the camera once again situates the view behind the young girl’s back, her small body silhouetted and alone in the doorway. The classroom is quiet and empty as children joyfully greet their arriving parents in the outside courtyard. Ikuko, like Mitsuko and Yoshimi before her, is very still, silently gazing at the other children through the sheets of rain that drench the schoolyard. Back at the publishing firm, where Yoshimi is still forced to wait, she frantically tries to reach the school by phone. A flashback then occurs in which Yoshimi recalls her abandonment at school by her own mother, and the subsequent shame and despair she felt at the time. The scene is bathed in a warm, yellow haze to signify the past. Abruptly, the image cuts to Ikuko under an umbrella, alone in the school courtyard during a downpour. As she looks across to the distant street, she sees another young girl, also alone. This apparition is Mitsuko’s ghost watching Ikuko from under the hood of her shiny yellow slicker. Later, the film flashes back to Mitsuko’s own rainy abandonment by her parents, as she was last seen at the same kindergarten two years earlier.

Emptiness pervades the film. Static street scenes are held and characters walk in and out of the frame, further suggesting the film’s focus on expansive settings rather than a close-up visualization of its primary characters. These are not the teeming streets of Tokyo, but old, grey apartment buildings on the outskirts, somewhere along the edge of the city. Dark Water repeatedly imagines its protagonists in relation to the cold, mammoth structure of the looming apartment building. The most frequent image is a long shot as Yoshimi and Ikuko approach the entrance on their first visit, walking down a long grey path, their tiny figures entering the far left of the frame. As they near the building, the aerial view situates them as little specks, clearly dwarfed by the imposing structure. These same images recur in hazy flashback as Yoshimi dreams of Mitsuko, the missing girl, making her way to the same building, and, later, a grown Ikuko takes this walk again at the film’s conclusion. Throughout Dark Water, shots of the cold grey concrete of the apartment building emphasize the dank, poorly lit hallways and the building’s decaying façade. Characters emerge into empty hallways and stairwells, barely distinguishable from the walls and rooms bathed in gloom. The film emphasizes the dynamic settings of school and apartment by relegating human characters to small corners, mere shadows at the end of long, dark hallways.

Director Hideo Nakata often consigns important narrative information to fragmentary glimpses that skirt the edges of the film frame. Even when Yoshimi or Ikuko interact with other people, they are often somehow isolated within the frame, excluded from the group dynamics so important to Japanese culture. The world they inhabit appears completely devoid of life — visually expressing the stigmatism visited on victims of divorce. This “aesthetics of the edge,” as I like to call it, is especially prevalent in Japanese horror films, creating a feeling of dread and unease that slowly creeps up on the spectator (instead of jumping out at them). Jay McRoy masterfully describes this technique in reference to Takashi Shimizu’s Ju-on: The Grudge (2002):

"By frequently relegating frightening images to the extreme edges of the frame, thereby investing them with the power of a fleeting, yet troubling figure glimpsed peripherally but never completely, Shimizu artfully manipulates the audience’s gaze, creating the impression that we may have just witnessed a flash of something disquieting — as if from the corner of our collective eye."[2]

These effective and subtle techniques appear intrinsic to Japanese horror cinema, and are visible in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse (2001), as well as Nakata’s Ringu, Ringu 2 (1999) and Dark Water. These films also lack the more formulaic sound cues common to Hollywood horror cinema, as the flash of something frightening is usually unaccompanied by any non-diegetic sound, in some ways strengthening the impact of the visual by negating the usual aural sounds of suspense.

The most frequent “blink-and-its-gone” image is of the yellow rain-slicker clad Mitsuko as she lurks in every corner and doorway of the school and the apartment complex — her presence foreshadowed by the presence of torrential rain, leaks and puddles, and grimy running water. Yoshimi’s first glimpse of Mitsuko’s ghost appears as she attempts to confront the cause of her ceiling leak, banging on the door of the overhead apartment in a hallway identical to her own. Giving up in frustration, Yoshimi steps into the elevator, only to see the image of a young girl, with long hair and a yellow slicker, standing in the doorway of this seemingly empty apartment. As the doors shut on her view, Yoshimi frantically tries to reopen the doors, but in an instant the girl is gone. Later, she sees the ghost walk past the doorway to the roof and lurk behind the giant water tank on the same level, but Mitsuko’s figure always shimmers with transparency, blurred and indistinct. The film’s visual details help support the epistemological uncertainty common to the representation of the quasi-gothic heroine, as Yoshimi repeatedly questions whether she actually sees Mitsuko or whether the specter is a figment of her imagination. Unsurprisingly, the male figures in the film — her ex-husband, his lawyers, Ikuko’s teacher, a helpful male friend — doubt her experiences as well.

The ever-present torrential rain not only enhances Dark Water’s gloomy atmosphere, but also accentuates the liminal space of the apartment building Yoshimi and Ikuko now occupy — Mitsuko’s former home. Throughout the grey, dank building, water leaks and puddles, dripping through the elevator shaft, and forming a stain that persistently spreads like a virus across Yoshimi’s bedroom ceiling, contaminating everything it touches. Indeed, one can gauge the delicacy of Yoshimi’s mental state against the form and shape taken by the substantial overhead leak. Her ex-husband uses fragile moments from her past as a wedge to pry away Ikuko from her grasp and engulf the mother in vulnerable self-doubt. As Mark Kermode points out, the revelation that she was driven half-mad

“by proof-reading graphically sadistic novels…sheds light on her fractured character, casting her as one who becomes drowned by stories, unable to establish boundaries between fantasy and reality.”[3]

As the ceiling leak continues to grow and mutate, the boundaries that separate Yoshimi’s subjectivity from her physical environment become increasingly fluid.

In both Dark Water and Ringu, water serves as a conduit for paranormal activity, elevating the natural to the supernatural. Water is Mitsuko’s chief source of communication with both Yoshimi and Ikuko, and the never-ending rain that surrounds these characters persists like a dark cloud continually overhead. Yoshimi’s first contact with Mitsuko occurs when she steps into a puddle on the floor of the building’s elevator — a space that the girl repeatedly haunts — and she feels the mysterious grasp of a child’s hand. The camera initially reveals a child’s hand, but when Ikuko skips merrily from the elevator, her mother realizes that she is not holding onto her daughter. Yoshimi later dreams of Mitsuko’s plight when water drips onto her sleeping form from the ubiquitous overhead leak. Only when Yoshimi presses her hand against the rooftop water tank that haunts her dreams, running her fingers over rivulets of water, does she experience a vision of Mitsuko’s demise as the unsupervised girl falls into the enormous tank. Although the girl is not literally pushed into the tank, as Sadako in Ringu is pushed into the well, the film implies that her mother’s inadequate care is ultimately to blame for this loss. Accordingly, Yoshimi must pay the appropriate price for this prior sin.

The intruding presence of water both inside and outside the building unsettles the cultural importance of keeping these areas spatially distinct. As Joy Hendry explains,

"uchi and soto are associated with the clean inside of the house, and the dirty outside world, respectively. Japanese houses almost always have an entrance hall where shoes, polluted with this outside dirt, are removed, and it is one of the few inflexible rules enforced by Japanese adults that small children learn to change their shoes every time they go in and out of the house."[4]

For small children, kindergarten is also supposed to provide a new inside group, a new uchi, where they can remain safe and cared for, away from the dangers of the outside world.[5] Unfortunately for Yoshimi, Mitsuko, and Ikuko, the schoolroom is a persistent site of trauma, where their lives all intersect in a sharp moment of motherly neglect as they sit forgotten at school. During Ikuko’s second pivotal encounter with Mitsuko at the school, the water that symbolizes Mitsuko’s liminal state hemorrhages from her spectral body toward the terrified girl, thus forcing a physical, as well as emotional connection.

In the kindergarten’s busy playroom, a small group of children gather to play hide and seek. Initially, Ikuko is attached to the group, but as the children run off to hide, the young girl is left isolated again; when she asks two girls if she can share their hiding space, they immediately send her away. She subsequently runs to the end of a long hallway where she hides under a table, her view limited by a dangling tablecloth and some boxes. She shouts when she is well-hidden. Slowly the camera begins to move shakily towards her hiding place from a long shot positioned at the end of the hall. As it gradually draws closer, Ikuko turns in close-up, and we see her respond in terror to the image of a pair of water-logged feet noisily squishing toward her. When the soaking child comes within three feet of the young girl, rivulets of water begin to flow freely from the figure’s feet, reaching out like tentacles to Ikuko.

The scene abruptly cuts to a taxi pulling up to the school as Yoshimi rushes to Ikuko’s side, for the girl is lying on a small bed, drenched and unconscious. Yoshimi accuses the schoolteachers of mistreatment, and the male teacher takes her down the hall for a talk. He implies that Ikuko’s “strange behavior” may be due to Yoshimi’s divorce. As they walk further, Yoshimi sees some childish drawings of a girl in a yellow rain slicker, imploring “Mitsuko” to “come back” and “come home.” The teacher mentions that she too was a “strange child,” but that her mother abandoned her. In this moment, Yoshimi comes to the realization that Mitsuko, the missing girl, used to live in their apartment building, and that this ghost may now be haunting her and Ikuko.

The dissolution of the boundaries between inside and outside provides the unease essential to the film’s uncanny experiences. Ruth Goldberg points out in her discussion of Ringu that

"Freud’s meditation on the uncanny rests on a foundation of dualistic thought that is largely preoccupied with the fear of the occlusion of boundaries between pairs of ideas or states of being: between life and death, self and other, reality and dream, consciousness and unconscious."[6]

Dark Water purposefully plumbs regions “where categories fail to maintain their integrity.” Nowhere is this more obvious than through Mitsuko’s watery, hazy manifestations. As a spirit, she is by definition a liminal entity, “negotiating the supposedly unbridgeable gulf between the world of the living and the realm of the dead.”[7] Her negotiation of these worlds is always through some form of water, and this becomes her means of communicating with both Ikuko and Yoshimi, whether a piece of her hair is left floating in a drinking glass or she forces dark, roiling water to flow through the taps. While water is often seen as a cleansing presence, a symbol of rebirth and renewal, in Dark Water, as early as the film’s opening credits, water is always represented as contaminated, a substance that taints whatever it touches. The stain that spreads across Yoshimi’s ceiling is yellow and brown, an image of decay and rot.

The dark water in the film serves as a vehicle for Mitsuko’s attack on the young Ikuko. One of the film’s most visually terrifying set pieces occurs when Yoshimi briefly leaves her daughter alone while she investigates the water tank on the roof. As Ikuko peers hesitantly from the doorway to their apartment, she is startled by water suddenly rushing from the tap in the tub. The camera reveals the sudden spurting of water from over her shoulder. As she frantically tries to shut off the tap, the water suddenly starts to sputter and cough and then changes from clear to a murky brown. Ikuko stops struggling with the tub’s faucet. She eyes the water in horror as it gurgles and bubbles, soon overflowing and spreading over the floor of the bathroom. As the camera swings behind the young girl, closing in as Ikuko stares into the tub’s murky depths, two grey, decaying hands reach from within the tub and grab her head, dragging her face first into the filthy froth. The scene ends with Ikuko helplessly fighting against Mitsuko’s angry strength, as the ghost tries to annihilate her competition for Yoshimi’s love. When Yoshimi rushes back to the apartment, she finds Ikuko unconscious on the floor of the bathroom, and desperately tells her daughter that she will never leave the child alone again. As she clutches her daughter in terror, the water angrily froths and bubbles at her as if responding to the mother's cry of devotion. Unfortunately for Yoshimi, she does not realize that she now clutches Mitsuko, who has somehow taken on her daughter’s form. Throughout the film, Ikuko and Mitsuko become increasingly interchangeable, and Mitsuko grows to possess Yoshimi’s daughter as a way to achieve the motherly connection she previously lost.

The primary conflict of Dark Water is that inadequate mothering, brought on by the disruption of divorce or the heroine’s excessive or inappropriate focus on a career, leads to neglect, and possibly irreparable loss. In some ways, the film suggests a certain amount of cultural nostalgia for the past that imagines a mother of myth rather than reality. Its vision of mothering has not adapted to the changes brought on by the bursting of Japan’s economic bubble in the 1990s, which compelled many women, including mothers, to enter the workforce. As Ruth Goldberg claims, quoting Masami Ohinata,

"When Japanese hear the word mother they do not call to mind the real flesh-and-blood mothers of their personal experience but, rather, see a personification of 'devotion to children, parental affection, and self-sacrifice.' … People’s devotion to the concept comes close to that of religious faith."[8]

The film ideologically suggests that mothering is a “totalizing experience” of consuming self-sacrifice. In this way, it points to the “new momism” currently being decried by U.S. media scholars Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels in The Mommy Myth. They point out that motherhood is too frequently represented through the media as

"eternally fulfilling and rewarding, that it is always the best and most important thing you do, that there is only a narrowly prescribed way to do it right, and that if you don’t love each and every second of it there’s something really wrong with you."[9]

Douglas and Michaels rightfully claim that these types of ideals are damaging to all women, mothers or otherwise, and that they stem from a persistent backlash against feminism — with a twist. The new “momism is not about subservience to men. It is about subservience to children.”[10]

Still, Dark Water does not represent a soulful longing for a mother from the past, but a violent and vengeful horror that will not be denied. As Ramie Tateishi convincingly illustrates:

"The notion of horror implied in this buried/forgotten past is that the remnants of yesterday may turn vengeful as a consequence of being denied, ignored, or otherwise erased. In sharp contrast to the response of nostalgia…this mode of horror gains its resonance from the position that the past does not simply rest beneath the layer of the modern — it actively forces its way through this layer and strikes back at those who buried it."[11]

This past that refuses to remain buried is potently symbolized in the film by the recurring image of Mitsuko’s little red “Mimiko” bag, a startlingly bright prop that contrasts sharply against the dismal setting of the concrete apartment building. The bag first appears during Yoshimi’s and Ikuko’s first visit to the apartment complex. When Ikuko suddenly disappears while Yoshimi examines their possible new home, her mother’s panicked search finds her daughter on the roof, clutching the little red bag. Once the two are told that no children currently live in the building, a sense of foreboding attaches to the object, and Yoshimi assiduously places the bag in the complex’s “lost and found” box. Shortly thereafter, the bag reappears, as Yoshimi encounters it while taking out the trash. She firmly places her garbage on top of the bag, and tightly closes the lid on the can. The bag shows up twice more on the rooftop, nestled within a drain opening as if the water spit it back from the trash onto the building. Finally, as Yoshimi tries to prepare Ikuko for her return to kindergarten — after the young girl’s ghost-induced illness — she find the little red bag nestled at the bottom of her daughter’s backpack. When Ikuko insists that she did not put the bag there, Ikuko grabs the red bag and experiences a sharp vision of the bag falling into the rooftop water tank. The red bag, clearly a treasured gift of Mitsuko’s, turns out to have been the impetus for the poor child’s tragic death. The bag continually forces its presence on the beleaguered Yoshimi until she fully grasps its dreadful meaning.

Throughout the film, Yoshimi is haunted by her own mother’s neglect, and because of her ability to empathize with the sad Mitsuko, she is compelled to right the wrongs of the mothers that came before her. Her willingness to assume another mother’s guilt reflects the Japanese concept of reciprocity, a crucial idea for a society that depends so much on notions of shared community.

"Reciprocity is called upon constantly in the way adults teach children to think of others before they act. Essentially it is the principle of ‘do as you would be done by’ which is being invoked here. Thus a child is exhorted to think of how it would feel if another child were to do to it what it is doing to another child, how it would like it if another child refused to lend a toy when it wanted to borrow one…"[12]

For Yoshimi, her memories of her own neglect, triggered by both the omnipresent rain and the presence of Mitsuko’s vengeful spirit, drive this young mother to try to save her own daughter at all costs. Yet she acutely understands Mitsuko’s forlorn state, having experienced the same feelings herself. Unfortunately, Mitsuko’s subsequent possession of the vulnerable young girl unwittingly places Yoshimi in a position where she must make an impossible choice. Her heartbreaking decision is literally forced upon her in the film’s shattering climax.

After Yoshimi finds Ikuko huddled unconscious on the bathroom floor, she desperately coaxes the girl back to life, and Ikuko delicately coughs as she miraculously breathes again. The mother carries the soaked girl to the elevator, clutching her to her chest in a frenzied attempt to leave the premises. Still, the dark water will not leave her alone, and a torrent starts to leak through the ceiling onto the mother and child. Seemingly by its own volition, the elevator climbs to the fourth floor and opens onto the floor housing Mitsuko’s old apartment. Yet as Yoshimi clutches her daughter in terror, she sees the apartment door open. Steeling herself for a frightful confrontation with the angry spirit, she instead sees Ikuko emerge from the dark apartment, apparently sleepwalking and calling her name. In that moment of recognition, Yoshimi turns to what she thinks is her daughter in the elevator, where she is instead attacked by the embodied Mistuko, whose grey decayed features cry out, “Mommy!” The ghoul’s hands lock around the mother's neck in an iron grip, and only when Yoshimi warns Ikuko away and turns to comfort the ghost does Mitsuko release her death hold.

The only way for Yoshimi to break the cycle of neglect is to acquiesce to Misuko’s demands and acknowledge the child specter as her daughter, thereby sacrificing her own daughter, Ikuko, and embracing an ideological ideal. A plaintive non-diegetic soundtrack now echoes through the film as Yoshimi’s daughter watches the elevator fill with water, clearly drowning her mother. She chases the elevator as it travels to the roof, trying for one last glimpse or connection with her beloved Yoshimi. The scene ends in a dynamic visualization of Mitsuko’s victory at capturing Yoshimi’s life and love. As Ikuko hurls herself, sobbing, in front of the elevator doors, the image holds again on the back of the young girl’s head; the only sound now is the bell as the elevator reaches the top floor. In an instant, the doors open and a wave of brown water envelopes the young girl, nearly swallowing her small form in a deluge. The scene ends with her crying, alone, abandoned by her mother and lying in a pool of dirty water.

The film concludes a decade after these calamitous events, as a teenage Ikuko joins a group of classmates on a bus trip to her old neighborhood. The bus drops the girls off in front of the kindergarten, and Ikuko silently watches as parents come to pick up their children. One girl stands alone, isolated from the group, her gaze staring back unwaveringly. Yet, like the absence of rain in the scene, the world has changed, and this seemingly abandoned child shouts with joy as her mother, profusely apologizing for her lateness, arrives to collect her. Ikuko traverses the same path to her old apartment as had her mother and Mitsuko before her, and the shot composition reiterates those lonely scenes from the past. Again, there are no signs of human life and the building looms ominously above. In that span of time, though, the apartment complex has noticeably deteriorated and decayed, as if it has lain uninhabited ever since that fateful night. Lighting fixtures hang with exposed wires from the lobby, but amazingly the elevator still functions.

Still, upon entering her old apartment, Ikuko finds it pristine and unaffected by time — an idyllic vision of mothering out of touch with contemporary Japanese reality, yet available to Ikuko as a cherished memory. The sunlight flows through windows, encasing the apartment in a glowing aura. Her mother’s selfless sacrifice has refashioned and stabilized the walls of the home, rendering them safe and comforting once again. Ikuko then encounters her mother in the bedroom, tangible and solid rather than a ghostly apparition. Yoshimi remarks on how much her daughter’s grown and that she must now be in high school, but when Ikuko suggests that she would like to come live with her mother, Yoshimi sadly declines. In that moment, Ikuko can feel the presence of Mitsuko, lurking in the background. The camera reveals the spirit’s watery image over Ikuko’s right shoulder, and as she turns to catch a glimpse of the girl, she finds Yoshimi has disappeared, even though the room remains unchanged. In the end, Ikuko acknowledges the sacrifice her mother made as a symbol of her protection, recognizing that relinquishing her mother is required to appease Mitsuko, a specter always capable of deluging other divorced mothers with her engulfing wail of need.


1. Nicholas Rucha, “Dark Water: review.” www.midnighteye.com, Retrieved 29 July 2005, http://www.midnighteye.com/reviews/darkwater.shtml.

2. Jay McRoy, “Case Study: Cinematic Hybridity in Shimizu Takeshi’s Ju-on: The Grudge,” Japanese Horror Cinema, ed. Jay McRoy (Honolulu: University of Hawaii press, 2005), 181.

3. Mark Kermode, “Dark Water: review,” Sight and Sound, v.13, no. 7 (July 2003): 39.

4. Joy Hendry, Understanding Japanese Society, (New York: Croom Helm, 1987), 40.

5. Hendry, Understanding Japanese Society, 45.

6. Ruth Goldberg, “Demons in the Family: Tracking the Japanese ‘Uncanny Mother Film’ from A Page of Madness to Ringu, Planks of Reason: Essays on the Horror Film, eds. Barry Keith Grant and Christopher Sharrett (Oxford, U.K: Scarecrow Press, 2004) 382-383.

7. McRoy, “Case Study,”176.

8. Goldberg, “Demons in the Family,” 372-373.

9. Susan J. Douglas and Meredith W. Michaels, The Mommy Myth (New York: Free Press, 2004) 3-4.

10. Douglas and Michaels, The Mommy Myth, 299.

11. Tateishi, Ramie, “The Japanese Horror Film Series: Ring and Eko Eko Azarak,” Fear Without Frontiers: Horror Cinema Across the Globe, ed. Steven Jay Schneider (Goldalming, U.K.: FAB Press, 2003), 296.

12. Hendry, Understanding Japanese Society, 43.

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