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Apartment 1303 3D

2012 | 85 min | R | 2.39:1

Apartment 1303 3D


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Theatrical release date

 25 July, 2013
 03 June, 2013

Country of origin

 United States



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Apartment 1303 3D Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, June 20, 2013

There is no rhyme, reason, or basic filmmaking competency to “Apartment 1303.” A ghost story that doesn’t bother with the story part of equation, the movie is relentlessly bogged down by idiocy and clumsy acting, resembling hundreds of similar genre offerings where the scares claim a higher priority than anything else, and even those are utterly worthless. Teeming with inconsistencies and ineptitude, “Apartment 1303” ends up a complete waste of time, not even amusing as bottom shelf schlock that welcomes the respite of mockery.

Janet (Julianne Michelle) is the daughter of abusive alcoholic singer Maddie (Rebecca De Mornay), desperate to get away and begin life in her own place. Renting a sketchy apartment in downtown Detroit, Janet is soon greeted by Emily (Madison McAleer), a standoffish little girl who prowls the hallways, and O’Neil (Gordon Masten), her pervy superintendent. During her first night, Janet is visited by the angry spirit of Jennifer (Kathleen Mackey), a young woman who killed herself in the apartment long ago. Beaten and soon murdered by the hateful ghost in a manner that resembles a suicide, Janet’s cruel death mystifies her older sister, Lara (Mischa Barton). With Janet’s lover, married cop Mark (Corey Sevier), unable to piece together the specifics of the crime, he teams with Lara to ride out the terror, with the pair staying in the apartment, eventually feeling the full malevolent force of Jennifer and her haunted dwelling.

“Apartment 1303” doesn’t have to do much in the way of heavy lifting to accomplish its limited goals. It’s a vengeful ghost story, a remake of a 2007 Japanese picture, though it’s easy to tell the country of origin with all the pronounced creepiness involving teen girls, while Jennifer is designed as a traditional sallow-skinned poltergeist, reminiscent of the ghouls found in “The Grudge” and “The Ring.” It’s a movie divided into two sections, each concerning Janet and Lara’s stay in the apartment, both working to deduce the root of the apparent evil, finding no help from outsiders, and that’s pretty much the extent of the drama. There’s a subplot spotlighting the hostile relationship between Lara and Maddie (a belligerent drunk who can’t live without her children, yet spends every waking moment driving them away), which motivates the desperation to accept a haunted dump such as Apartment 1303, but it’s ultimately window dressing to keep the actors interested in the work, barely registering as drama due to rank, unwieldy performances from Barton and De Mornay. Any chance for “Apartment 1303” to hit a few unexpected notes of poignancy concerning the issue of parental abuse is decimated the moment the actresses open their mouths.

Writer/director Michael Taverna isn’t much of a horror movie stylist, employing unfinished visual effects and hackneyed staging to execute Jennifer’s puzzling wrath. The chills emerge from sonic jolts and vague acts of rage, not an unnerving escalation of suspense, making “Apartment 1303” feel like a retread instead of its own creation. Questions of logic also arrive with alarming regularity, finding the script lost in a haze when it comes to answering questions or providing basic reasons why the women continue to remain in the clearly demonic dwelling after suffering injuries. Police are equally ineffectual, boiled down to Mark and his weird indifference to accusations that he killed Janet, and a detective (John Diehl) who’s aware of four suicides that have occurred inside the apartment, yet doesn’t find anything even remotely strange about such a clearly disturbing trend. Heck, even Janet’s death is treated as more of an inconvenience than a loss.

Of course, asking questions of “Apartment 1303” is ridiculous, as Taverna appears to be only interested in tracing around the basic outline of a horror movie, not delivering substance that might actually disturb the audience, leaving them breathless instead of confused. It’s simply a maddeningly awful picture with sub-par production achievements, crummy acting, and a brazen disregard for the finer points of storytelling.

Starring: Mischa Barton, Rebecca De Mornay, Julianne Michelle, Corey Sevier, John Diehl
Director: Michael Taverna

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