Don't be fooled into thinking that this is a Dutch remake of 'Dark Water', the Japanese ghost movie that was already remade by Hollywood with the same title. A mysterious house and some dirty water is all that these films have in common. And yes, there is the 'ghost angle', but as ghost stories go, this movie has much more in common with The Sixth Sense. But due to how disappointingly that ghost element plays out in the end here, that's where the similarities end.
The beginning of the movie seems promising, yet somewhat predictable: a family moves to a huge house which was inherited from the wife's estranged mother. The young daughter quickly starts to feel that something is wrong in the house, apart from the dark water coming from the faucets. The wife is too career-minded to hear her stories, only the good-natured husband seems to listen, but he believes all the freaky stuff is just stress from the moving and the new surroundings. Without spoiling too much, the girl's ordeal leads to a lot of confusion as to the history and disposition of a strange presence in the house. A solid plot device that was one of the reasons that The Sixth Sense worked so well, and here, it goes a long way, but unfortunately not all the way until the end.
The supernatural element is played out quite well throughtout most of the film, until 20 minutes before the end, where they introduce a couple of plot twists that tear out the bottom of a carefully constructed narrative. A plot twist provides an unexpected direction to a central premise, and if done well, it changes a premise you may not even have been consciously aware off. But in this movie, they present an ill-conceived alternative explanation that comes out of nowhere, a surprise for the sake of having a surprise. If the ending raises more questions than it answers (and I don't mean the good, philosophical questions, but simply logical questions), it is clear that the screenwriter has failed to do a good job.
The film looks great and has some very good art direction and photography, but it is pretty clear from the beginning that the horror aspect of the movie is a lazy rehash from other and much better movies. In the Netherlands, we have the tendency to copy cinema trends with a delay of several years, so such a deja-vu expeirence is not uncommon. We have literally seen such scenes dozens of times before, and when you can actually anticipate jump scares, you know that the director has failed on that aspect.
So the film quickly starts to get more predictable and becomes even boring, which isn't helped by the fact that I find Hadewych Minis a limited actress who seems to have only one facial expression in her repertoire (she is mainly knwon for doing radio commercials these days). Isabelle Stokkel is doing fine as the daughter, and I also liked Barry Atsma's performance. For some reason, many people dislike his portrayals because he is way too pretty for the everyman roles he usually plays, but I will not hold that against him.
The Netherlands don't have a rich history of good horror movies, and this film isn't going to change that, not as long as we keep trying to copy trends from other countries without adding our own spin to it. I have expressed my adoration for the underrated The Pool (2014) before, one of the few Dutch horror movies that did that and worked (for me at least), and I'll do it again here. Or maybe we should resort to remaking thrillers? Loft was pretty well received, and even original ones like The Resistance Banker. I have to admit that even I am getting tired of all the Dutch romcoms now. So please, get a decent screenwriter and a decent director (preferably the same person) and let somebody fund a genuinely good Dutch genre movie.
All the water drained from the plot in the end