Review: Apartment 1303 / Cert: 15 / Director: Michael Taverna / Screenplay: Michael Taverna / Starring: Mischa Barton, Rebecca De Mornay, Julianne Michelle, Corey Sevier / Release Date: Out Now
Apartment 1303 is an eerie tale based on the J-horror film of the same name by Kei Oishi. Whilst the original film wasn’t particularly great, this English language version is even poorer. The real question here is where to begin. The story is formulaic, predictable and tiresome. The tension, ever so important in a film of such nature, is non-existent. There’s no slow-burn, there’s no tease; the film goes right for the jugular from the off. The thing is, it doesn’t go for the jugular very convincingly. It’s almost like you know somebody is trying to grab you round the throat, but you’re just not that arsed because you know there’s no real danger or menace behind it.
The plot involves a once famous, now drunk, mother (De Mornay) and her two fed-up daughters (Barton and Michelle). One of the daughters (Michelle) has enough of her mother’s behaviour and decides to move out to, yes, you guessed it, Apartment 1303. Having a ghostly, violent feel to it, it’s soon revealed that the apartment has seen various atrocities over the years. The folks involved in said atrocities also don’t like people meddling in their former abode, and they do their best to make sure that these people leave the building one way or another.
There’s no easing into the story here. The film goes straight into the action, leaving very little time for you to actually develop any sense of care or emotion towards any of the characters on show. Bar a few adequate effects sequences, when the action does come, it’s generally bland, slow and predictable.
The predictable nature of the action is only made worse by the horrific acting involved. If Keanu Reeves is often labelled wooden, then the acting here is as wooden as Seamus from Family Guy. As stiff as an over-enthusiastic Viagra user, Barton and Michelle are just plain awful. Upon learning of deaths, people react as if they’ve just found a gherkin on the plain Big Mac that they’ve ordered – it’s a brief shrug of the shoulders, toss it to one side, then carry on regardless. If the characters don’t care, why should we? De Mornay is hit-and-miss in the scenes she appears in, whilst Sevier is the best of the bunch. Seemingly thrown in for the eye candy appeal, Sevier delivers a far better performance than anyone else involved. That said, he’s just okay at best.
A film like this always seems to find a market with genre fans, but we fear that Apartment 1303 will even struggle with that particular audience. No emotion, no care, no feeling and no reason to watch.