It is worth mentioning before I write my review of “Apartment 1303” 3D that I state that I have watched the 2007 Japanese film (Totally enjoyed that film), however I will try view the 2012 redo based solely on Michael Taverna’s intended vision.
“Apartment 1303” stars Mischa Barton, Rebecca De Mornay, Julianne Michelle, Corey Sevier, John Diehl, Kathleen Mackey and Jessica Malka. The story is set in Detroit and follows Barton’s character Lara Slate, who searches for answers to her sister’s untimely death that is chalked up to depressed 20-something suicide after “jumping” from the balcony of the new apartment she had just leased. The older Slate sister soon realizes the true state of things in the apartment and building where her sister had planned to call home. Janet looked to leave behind an alcoholic washed-up singer/song-writer mother’s home to make a new independent start.
The story of “Apartment 1303” is classic and still modern enough to set up a really good horror story, paranormal or otherwise. It just works because humans are standard in how they direct their lives in society. We all break the chains of or beginnings to make a new, hopefully better, start in life and that often has us dealing with both horrors and joys, so you would think that Taverna’s film would be tight. It isn’t, but it should have been. Something in the chemistry of this paranormal vision is just not mixing right.
The acting is pretty B-level, with some a couple of actors giving a better performance, unfortunately the good performances didn’t come from the ones that the film needed to carry this story into a real, and spooky place that would have made this film a proper ghost story. Mischa’s performance was pretty standard Mischa but Julianne Michelle’s acting seemed fake and the gods only know what character Rebecca De Mornay was channeling. It came off to much of a caricature and theatrical for what the overall atmosphere of this film was going for-unless the director asked for camp. Then I guess... I had to make amends with that element of “Apartment 1303” to watch this film completely. Don’t get me wrong the performances were not atrocious, they just didn’t come together (or mix well) to bring the chemistry and plausibility of the characters where they should have been to draw me in.
As for the effects and soundtrack in “Apartment 1303” I can’t say anything bad because it was all pretty well done and should have, or could have rather, made this film pop chillingly. However it was set up, predictable – copy/paste scenarios that fill almost all paranormal horror films that aren’t found-footage. There was no real sudden shock moments that thrilled me, well twice I did jump but mostly I just sat, very frustrated, waiting for the film to end and bitching that it wasn’t as thrilling as it could have been. It just all fell flat.
The practical effects and spook tricks were nice, so kudos to the FX team on this one-too many to mention in this or I would. The sound department did okay, overall the sound effects walked the line between cool and cliché but it did more to help the film than hurt it. The music is pretty standard but it gave the film it’s only real since of emotional communication between story and me. I personally did not get enough out of “Apartment 1303” to find it entertaining or scary but by all means if you see it in the discount bin or get a good deal for renting it and just wanna check it out-go for it-just don’t expect much.