Apartment 1303 (2012)
(15) Running time: 85 minutes
Director: Michael Taverna
Writer: Michael Taverna
Cast: Mischa Barton, Rebecca De Mornay, Julianne Michelle, Corey Sevier
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish
OK, so I am one of the few who have actually seen the original Japanese film this is based on, and yes the original was not exactly brilliant, but it is a damn sight better than this utter tosh. This American remake manages to ruin everything that made the original slightly entertaining (a little tense, slightly creepy, fairly interesting), and completely ruins the entire set up, and may very well make you question why you like horror in the first place! Yes, Apartment 1303 is that bad, and I pray no one actually see’s this in 3D (it was made in 3D you know) because it will make this one dimensional nonsense even more one dimensional, with the added 3D dimension (does that even make sense?)
So, Michael Taverna, just what the hell have you done here and, more to the point, what silly person actually approved this? This film is beyond saving, and not even the dreaded straight to DVD selling point can save this. The straight to DVD crowd will be insulted watching this, and I feel there should be a new genre, or device, for films like this. May I proudly announce the new “straight to the bin” idea, and may this film be the first to use this new format, PLEASE!!! This film is actually painful to watch, and I don’t mean painful in a good way that you can laugh at how bad it is. Oh no, this is painful to the point it really does actually hurt to watch, and I am still questioning how I didn’t turn this off before getting to the end.
The story see’s a girl by the name of Janet (Michelle)) move into the spooky Apartment 1303, and no sooner has she moved in she starts feeling like some ghostly presence is watching her. Time for the viewer to get scared? Not on your life! You will be either laughing or seriously shouting at Janet to shut the fuck up as she talks to herself, and explains everything that is happening to her as if we were idiots. It is insulting, incredibly annoying and totally stupid. I don’t need to know her every god damned thought, OK! Janet’s sister Lara (Barton) lives at home with her drunk, singer (if you can call it that) Mother (De Mornay), and they bicker in terrible fashion, terrible as in the acting is just horrendous. De Mornay has some serious acting days behind her, and has appeared in many great films (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Mother’s Day, The Shining, Identity, Backdraft), but seriously all I could think here was “oh dear, Rebecca what have you done”. It is embarrassing to see a once great actress fall to such depths of badness, and totally forget the job which made her a star in the first place. Hell, I have seen Gorillas act better than this!
And don’t even get me started on the rest of the cast, I reckon a pebble would have had more personality than this lot! Seriously, the acting is horrible, and any amount of remorse, connection of fear you should have for the character is well and truly lost amidst a wash of terrible performances. It was as if the director just said “ah, I can’t be bothered”. Then there is the script, oh my Lord the script. Here’s an example: when Janet is on the phone telling her boyfriend about her worries in the apartment, she tells him “this place is truly spooky”. Really!!! It gets worse, after Janet’s sister moves in, she too explains a strange feeling while on the phone to someone (I can’t even remember who), and proclaims “this place is unsettling, I don’t even know what that means!”. Come on, who wrote this script, a four year old??? Then there are the effects: the ghost is hardly ghost like at all, simply a female actress with a lick of dark face paint and a ‘ghostly’ dress, ooh spooky! The streets surrounding the building are usually CGI’d (badly), and even the building is created using bad CGI at one point. Oh, and when you see someone falling through the air you will laugh until it hurts. The pacing is all over the place (but mostly sluggish), and the timings for the so-called shocks are painful. This film is so bad I just don’t know how to express my utter, utter disgust with it. I am angered, shocked and ashamed that I sat through this dribble.
My final thing to say on this atrocity of a ‘horror’ is that the first real contender for worst film of the year has well and truly arrived!