"Dark Water" (search) is the latest American remake of a Japanese horror film hoping to scare up an audience this weekend.
As if the character played by Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly (search) ("A Beautiful Mind") doesn't have enough to deal with in a child custody fight, the divorced mom and her daughter move into a disturbingly spooky building.
"She's faced with that sort of choice between her and her daughter's being threatened, and she makes that choice — she'll do anything to protect her daughter and to keep her safe, and as a parent, I think I absolutely recognize that there's no question," Connelly told FOX News.
The new apartment shared by Dahlia (Connelly) and her daughter Ceci has dripping water everywhere. Their bedroom is especially inundated, with liquid falling in gloopy puddles from apartment 10F above them.
All this is happening as Dahlia is in the midst of a bitter divorce and custody battle with Ceci's father. So when Dahlia learns from Ceci's teacher (Camryn Manheim (search)) that her daughter has been talking to an imaginary friend named Natasha instead of playing with real kids at her new school, it seems normal.
But then the water becomes more insistent, as does the voice in Ceci's head, and eventually Dahlia starts hearing and seeing things, too. Is she going mad? Is she reliving abandonment issues from her own childhood? Did something horrible happen in 10F? Or is it just old, faulty plumbing?
Creepy, yes. But the cast wants everyone to know — this is no slasher flick.
"I like scary movies that are more psychological thrillers more than I like kind of gory horror films," Connelly said.
"I like a good scary movie. The horror genre — tend to [make me] think of a lot of gore and special effects and makeup and severed limbs. I'm not really that into that, but I like a good scary movie," co-star John C. Reilly said.
"Dark Water," based on a hit Japanese film directed by "Ringu" director Hideo Nakata, which itself was based on a short story by Koji Suzuki, who also wrote the novel "The Ring," falls into the category of "J-horror," (search) or scary movies of Japanese origin, like "The Ring" and "The Grudge."
If you're a fan of the genre, you'll be happy to see that all the requisite ideas and images are represented. Water as a symbol of death. Cold, gray surroundings. A creepy little girl with long, dark hair.
"It's actually better than it sounds. In the canon of recent scary movies of Japanese origin, 'Dark Water' is more deeply disturbing than the laughable remake of 'The Ring' or 'The Grudge,' which was oddly antiseptic," writes Associated Press film critic Christy Lemire, who gives the film three stars out of four.
Lemire says the mood is "inescapably spooky from the first frame. No big, fast scares here. Just a slow, steady boil.
"Connelly, an Oscar winner for 'A Beautiful Mind,' adds weight and realism to a role that could have been just another wide-eyed, shrieking damsel in distress. Every emotion — from fear to determination — flashes vividly across her strikingly clear features."
But Lemire, like other reviewers, adds that there's nothing here you haven't seen before.
Glimmers of iconic horror movies like "The Shining" and "The Sixth Sense" are evident, as well as the far less effective "Hide and Seek" with Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning.
FOX News' Mike Waco and Trace Gallagher and The Associated Press contributed to this report.