A modern ghost story which turns a love/hate relationship between mother and daughter into a tale of horror. Some rentals are too good to be true.
With some films you start to wonder what people were thinking, what meetings took place and decisions were made that result in the finished production. Apartment 1303 (I’m going to ignore the 3D bit) is one of the dullest horror films I have ever seen. There is apparently a Japanese original, which I confess I haven’t seen, that I am led to believe is not much better, which begs the question…why even make this film?
The story for what it’s worth revolves around a hugely dysfunctional family of a mother and two daughters. Maddie Slate (Rebecca DeMornay) is an alcoholic former pop superstar who spends her days strumming her guitar, going through several costume changes and mentally abusing her offspring Lara (Mischa Barton) and Janet (Julianne Michelle). When Janet grows weary of this repetitive unpleasantness she moves out into Apartment 1303 despite the creepy kids, perverted building supervisor and stories of suicide by previous residents. At this point I had begun to lose interest completely. Anyone who has seen a haunted house story at some point in their life knows exactly where this is going. The one slight twist, and I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here, is that Janet is “killed off” by the malevolent spirit quite early on but to continue the story, and completely inexplicably, her sister Lara decides to move in to see what all the fuss was about. Cue continued haunting by bumps and bangs and the now compulsory creepy looking girl.
Apartment 1303 is everything that is wrong with the horror movie genre right now. For every successful, well written and passionately produced film we have dozens of these tiresome wannabes that lower the tone of the genre altogether. When people say they don’t like horror films I think they actually mean they don’t like bad horror films but unfortunately that is what the market is flooded with. Nothing in Apartment 1303 is remotely original or even scary with director and co-writer Michael Taverna relying simply on tedious jump scares for effect. There are, at times, some reasonable CGI moments that give some indication as to where the budget went but are so obvious against a backdrop of banality as to be almost comical.
The performances are also an issue. Not one cast member comes out of this film with any credit at all and for the most part appear just embarrassed to have been involved. The script has forced actors who have done decent things in the past to look awkward and cumbersome as if they have never seen a film set before and are just going through the motions of a poor audition.
There are still scary films being made, scary stories being written, but this seemingly never ending flow of awfulness continues on. At a time when more and more independent films are going into production and fighting for whatever funds they can lay their hands on it is somewhat depressing that a film such as Apartment 1303 has a reported budget of $5 million. I would imagine that the majority of the people involved would be happy for this film to disappear from their IMDB page and it will be interesting to see what the director or his cast do next.
I would recommend you avoid this film at all costs. There is nothing here of interest, even in the so-good-its-bad category. There are no actually bad effects to laugh at, no camp, overacting to enjoy and certainly no huge leaps in the plot that will make you splutter popcorn at the screen. In fact this is quite simply a film of nothing. It is a production so devoid of interest that it barely warrants expressing any emotion for it whatsoever and I am annoyed I have had to. Do not watch this film and tell everyone you know not to either.
Apartment 1303 (2012)