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Original Title:
Honogurai mizu no soko kara

Japan 2002

Kenji Kawai

Dark Water - OST

Review: The score for a horror movie is essential for a creepy and dark atmosphere. In fact, some moviemakers depend so much on music that the events on screen could be rather amusing than frightening if you hit the mute button of your remote control. Actually it's just important that the volume suddenly explodes, unexpectedly jumps at you or that the music raises tension with dissonant tunes. Recognizable motives are a rareness, catchy melodies are something you most definitely won't find and so the question is if the soundtrack of a horror movie really can stand on its own? If someone can pull this off than it's Kenji Kawai, can't he?

Kenji Kawai is not only a famous composer in Japan nowadays. His contributions for "Ring", "Ghost in the Shell" and "Avalon" made him also popular in other Asian countries, so that now he is almost bombarded with work. But what does the OST for "Dark Water" offer?
Well, sadly nothing new... Of course, the ambience character is in the center of the composer's interest. This is already apparent in "From the Abyss". Ghostly sung "screams", a jarring high sound in the background as if one tried to turn off a broken water pipe and the use of deep sounds of a bell prepare you for a dark world. In "Omen" we briefly get to hear the main theme of the movie, which is relaxing, sad and relieving. Shortly after this we return to the old tunes again: creepy background stuff.
In "Idea" the main motif is recommenced and now is played until the end of the track, which makes this one the most melodious and at the same time best title on the CD. However, it's also here that you can definitely make out the synthesizer sounds, which gives the whole CD almost a cheap character.

The next title worth mentioning is "Crossroad". This track is more melodious once again and somehow reminds me of one of the tracks of the "Resident Evil" Videogame soundtrack. Sadly, including the brassy sythesizer sounds, again.
"Yellow Dream" begins exactly like track number 1. The ritual-like bell theme is the same one, but this time there are no creepy background sounds flawing the track. "Ruins" and "Yelling" offer simple horror style music, even if the first one is a little bit more thrilling. The following tracks are routinely composed, only the last 3 minutes of the nearly 9 minutes long "Prisoner" represent a return to the already known theme from "Ideal" and resume it. With its tragical sounds and suddenly inserted drums this string-accentuated piece is really good and could have become the highlight of the CD, if it would have been a track on his own. The way it is it's a little bit of a nuisance that you always have to press the forward button, if you are not listing to the CD using a PC.

"Narcotic" starts in a monotonous manner, is meditative, but also featureless until the leadmotif kicks in. Nevertheless, up until now we've heard it often enough already.
The last song of the CD is track 13 - well, that's what I call a breach of style. "Blue Sky" from Suga Shikao delivers upbeat sounds and mediates hope and happiness. Nonetheless a little bit of a melancholic undertone is still to be found, yet this title just doesn't fit into the rest of the CD. Nowadays, it has become popular to put in a more pop-like track at the end of Japanese score-CDs. Apart from that, the song isn't really that bad, especially since it reminds me of some other popular song, but the name just doesn't come into my mind...

At the bottom line there is still the question who is supposed to listen to this CD in his freetime, apart from some solid tracks. The dark and threatening atmosphere that Kenji Kawai builds up fits perfectly into the movie but the soundtrack just can't stand on its own. However, the composer has to get some credit that he managed to capture the water theme very well by using sluggish bell sounds and screeching strings.
In the end this CD can only be recommended to collectors or those who are looking for good background music when reading the newest Stephen King novel or writing a review for a horror movie...

Copyright 2006 AsianMovieWeb

Track listing

01. From the Abyss
02. Omen
03. Small Human Figure
04. Ideal
05. In the flowing Waters
06. Crossroad
07. Yellow Dream
08. Ruins
09. Yelling
10. Call from Water
11. Prisoner
12. Narcotic
13. Blue Sky

Running Time = 41:54

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