DVD Title
Dark Water
International Title
Dark Water
DVD Length Original Length
101 Minutes 101 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
ADV Films 2005
Language Subtitles
Japanese, English English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.85:1 5.1 Surround
Extras
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Menus (English)
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Chapters (17)
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Trailers: Dark Water, Shinobi (ADV Films), Yesterday (ADV Films), 2009 Lost Memories (ADV Films), Gun Crazy: Beyond the Law (ADV Films), Conduct Zero (ADV Films), Neo Tokyo (ADV Films)
Captures
Review

After shelving this title for an incredible amount of time, obviously to capitalize on the US remake of the film, ADV finally delivers the goods. Was it worth the wait? Sadly, not really. Dark Water features an average video transfer and a good audio presentation, but it's topped off with a very sparse amount of added content to speak of.


 Video: Star Rating

ADV churns out another average, at best, video presentation here. In fact, upon first watching this DVD I was instantly reminded of ADV's Gamera: Revenge of Iris release, and those familiar with that release should recognize some of the problems that arise here. The coloring, for example, is fairly monotone here, with no rich or vibrant array of colors present in the least. On a more positive note, at least the film isn't discolored in anyway, just make sure not to be alarmed at the blue or yellow tinted scenes in the film as they are intentional. The brightness level is handled fairly well here at least, with all details being readibly visible while not being set high enough to drown out the darker shades.

Unfortunatly, the disc's real blemish is the wide variety of digitial inconsistences present. Artifacting is noticeable, as the film appears to have been compressed here quite a bit as pixilation is present. Edge enhancment also rears its ugly head on this release, as the entire film looks blurred, lacking any real true focus. The print itself isn't in the best of shape either, as there is a "healthy" amount of grain peresent, although no scratches. It should be noted that the print used here is ADV's own version for the film. What this means is that English title cards have been burned (in other words, not removable) onto the opening credits to provide translations, while the end credits have been discarded in favor of ADV's version (the latter of which is a bonus, as they translate almost the entire thing).

Lastly, the viewing area of the film itself is noticeably reduced here, with large black areas added to the left and right of the picture, as seen in the screen captures above. Thankfully, this is only a problem to those watching from a DVD-Rom, as when watched on a normal player, connected to a TV, the disc will play properly without the black area on either side. Still a nusiance to those who fall into the former category, though. Dark Water is presented here in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 at least, and is also Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio: Star Rating

The highlight of the disc, without a doubt. ADV has supplied two audio tracks for Dark Water. The first is a near flawless transfer of the film's original Japanese audio track, presented here in a 5.1 surround mix. ADV has done an excellent job with speaker distinction on the surround track too, causing effects like the running water to sound like they are happening all across the room, if one has the sound system to support it. The second audio track is a 5.1 surround presentation of the film dubbed in English. The surround part of the second track is done well, with sound effects still having that nice distinction in the speakers; however, the actual dubbed voices are just too far gone here. To put it bluntly, they sound horrendous; in fact, there sounds to be a good amount of echo added to the voiceovers, like these were rather haphazardly recorded in a open studio.

The quality of the dub track aside, the disc does a fairly good job in regards to the, removable, English subtitling here. As expected, this is intended to accompany the Japanese audio track, as opposed to the dubbed track, and does a fairly faithful job with the translations. A great aspect of the subtitles here is that they are color coded to show when more than one person is talking during a given scene, with the default being yellow and the secondary color being white.


 Extras:

Not much in the way of extras to talk about here. The disc proudly boasts about the "original Japanese trailer" that can be found inside, and in reality that's the only extra of any substance. The trailer featured here, on the positive side, does have English subtitles, however, they aren't removable. The trailer itself isn't in the best of shape either, obviously heavily compressed here and with a fair amount of yellow discoloring. The other "extra" is a set of ADVs self made previews for six other films, which, like other ADV films, act more like commercials than anything worth touting.

On a side note, there are a couple of adverts that play automatically when the disc is inserted into a player, and will have to be skipped past, or endured, before one gets to the main menu.


 Overview: Star Rating

Bottom line, it's a passable release of a excellent horror film, although only the audio portion of this release is worth praising. Thankfully, ADV titles tend to retail for fairly cheap, so at least one can't be too cross in regards to the quality.

- Anthony Romero  
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