Friday, October 25, 2013

'Apartment 1303' (Movie Review)

Far from the scariest thing in Detroit.

Maybe you're like me and pondered out loud "What would happen if Mischa Barton and Rebecca De Mornay got together to make a horor movie?" Director Michael Taverna's Apartment 1303 3D answers that question for us. Frankly, now I wish I hadn't asked.

This re-make of a modern Japanese ghost story takes place in lovely Detroit, Michigan. Young Janet Slate (Julianne Michelle) is no longer capable of living with her musician-turned-alcoholic mother (De Mornay) so she moves into a great apartment that just happens to be right in her price range. Unfortunately, the budget rent comes with more than a silver fish problem. Janet is soon plagued by frightening noises and visions at night in her new home, prompting a lot of runny eyeliner and "OMG I am so freaked out" monologues. She also contends with a rude little neighbor girl, and her perverted superintendent O'Neil (Gordon Masten) who is easily the highlight of the entire movie. His delivery is the only thing that transcends from "bad" to "so bad it's good" territory.

After a short while, Janet meets her untimely demise and her sister Lara begins the search for answers behind her disappearance. Mischa Barton portrays Lara Slate with all the emotional intensity of a robot. In fact, Taverna should have pitched the name Android Girl Fights Apartment Ghost because I think it's snappier than Apartment 1303 3D. She teams up with her sister's boyfriend Mark (Corey Sevier) who says he is a cop, which she seems to take at face value since she never really sees him doing anything that would indicate he is a police officer. I chalked it up to her robot brain running all sorts of statistical calculations on the likelihood of him telling the truth. Thus begins their "investigation" that ends up being a bunch of poorly timed jump scares wrapped in a bow of limited tension.

The movie rounds off with some closure, a few plot holes, and a lot of amazing overacting by Rebecca De Mornay. Seriously, the acting quality in Apartment 1303 3D ranges between "Lifetime movie" and "middle school sex education video" but I have to give some points to Rebecca for going over the top as a lunatic drunk. She never phones it in.

I can't recommend Apartment 1303 3D unless you're really hard up for something to watch. It's available via VOD but most people probably won't have the 3D capability (I didn't) that is tacked on. It's unfortunately a cobbled together mess that never garners any scares, or enough laughs to move it into ironic territory.

Grade: D

Reviewed on Amazon Video. Running time: 85 MIN.

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