Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Film Review: Apartment 1303 3D (2012)

Apartment 1303 3D (Review)
United States/Canada/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Prime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes (expiring soon!)

"The "horror" is terrible, and the drama is atrociously developed..."

Janet (Julianne Michelle) moves into apartment 1303 of a Detroit apartment building after a dispute at home. Meanwhile, Janet's sister, Lara (Mischa Barton) stays at home with their single, alcoholic mother, Maddie (Rebecca De Mornay).

Apartment 1303 continues as Janet stays in her new apartment. Immediately, she begins to hear ominous noises, see spooky apparitions, and meets her creepy neighbor and perverted superintendent. She's told about the people who lived there before her, and she's told to leave, but she doesn't listen. She calls her sister and boyfriend for help, and that's about it for the first half. Then, spoiler alert, she dies. (I considered avoiding this spoiler, but it's on the Wikipedia, and it just doesn't feel like a twist or shocker, either.) Her sister shows up to bring her stuff home and begins to experience the same haunting. The climax isn't really shocking or effective, the ending was as bland and boring as the rest of the film.

Apartment 1303 is a remake of a Japanese horror film I am not familiar with. The story attempts to develop its characters and plot, but it really hinders the experience -- it's never really effective enough. Anyway, the characters consists of an alcoholic, seemingly-medicated family of bipolar people, and an undercover cop with marriage issues. Janet monologues for everything since she's alone most of the time, and she always tells the audience how she feels: "Time for some whine," "I love this apartment," "I'm so scared," and so on. She has absolutely no subtlety in her character. Lara is off her meds and insincere, I can't tell who she really is. And, Maddie is a washed up superstar. Oh, and the undercover cop is simply there as a guardian or something, and he seems completely incapable of anything. I couldn't care for the characters, so the attempts at character development not only were flawed, but they were futile. Instead of focusing on this set of characters, the film would've been more effective if it had focused on the apartment itself and the ghosts that inhabit it -- gives us something interesting and spooky, something entertaining, at least.

As for horror, Apartment 1303 severely lacks it. In fact, I'm not even sure there was even a shred of horror in the entire film. No suspense. No scary visuals or ghosts. No jump-scares. No dread. No emotion. No realism. There's nothing scary about this film. It doesn't even feel like a horror film, it feels more like a half-baked drama, which probably explains the odd focus on ineffective subplots and boring characters. I can usually find at least one decent scene or scare in a film, but I fear this has none. Both its plot and horror are completely forgettable within minutes after finishing.

The acting is mediocre. Julianne Michelle was surprising decent throughout most of her performance; I think the writing of her dialogue and character were more detrimental, all the monologues really hurt her performance. Mischa Barton was barely serviceable; she's decent when she only has to speak, but when the role becomes demanding, she falls apart with an ingenious, over-the-top or too bland performance. Rebecca De Mornay plays a drunk, she probably could've just showed up drunk for her performance, she probably should've; the "drunk" performance, much like the "stoner", is hard to nail, it more often than not feels fake and and like a bad impersonation, like it does in this film. The score is your basic horror movie music. The film is mostly shot competently; some scenes have terribly lighting and special effects, which might be because of the 3D. Director Michael Taverna is ineffective and inconsistent; bad performances from his cast due to writing and direction, bad dialogue, no suspense or actual horror, and completely ineffective drama.

Overall, Apartment 1303 3D is a complete waste of time. The "horror" is terrible, and the drama is atrociously developed; the characters are boring and occasionally annoying and irrational; the plot is never consistent, often uneventful, and the ending was weak. Julianne Michelle could've been a saving grace, even in the slightest, if the writing wasn't so bad. This isn't a case of "it's so bad it's good" this is just bad.

Score: 1/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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