Starring : Mischa Barton, Rebecca De Mornay, Julianne Michelle, Corey Sevier and John Diehl
Director : Michael Taverna
Release Date : 27 Jul 2013
THE latest offering from screenwriter and director Michael Taverna (Resilient, Managua) is another addition to the pantheon of haunted house movies, and that’s perfectly understandable because heebie jeebies aside, there’s nothing scarier than investing a big chunk of your money in real estate, right?
Well, that’s not quite the case with Janet Slate (Julianne Michelle) who signed the lease on the very first apartment that she viewed because, as she perkily explains to older sister Lara (Mischa Barton) over the phone, “I’m telling you, it’s a great apartment!”
Turns out, the aforementioned unit in Apartment 1303 is not so great after all, something which Janet quickly and regretfully discovers upon moving in to the unit. The hallways are dingy, the elevator’s all wobbly and the tenants are just plain weird.
To make matters worse, Janet soon learns that the former tenant of her newly acquired apartment murdered her own mother and then committed suicide by jumping off the balcony.
She doesn’t waste any time going on full damsel-in-distress mode though, choosing to freak out over every bump and creak in the high-rise apartment, instead of calmly assessing the situation.
But then again, this is a character who doesn’t even give a second thought to signing a high purchase contract.
Here’s where this remake of 2007’s Japanese horror film of the same name by Ataru Oikawa diverges from your usual psychological fright fare of intelligent and cynical heroines. It seems as if Taverna is so intent on portraying Janet as a really ditzy person that he’s taking basic cognitive process away from her.
At one point after hearing strange noises inside her apartment, the poor girl asks aloud, “Hello, did anybody hear that?”
Goodness woman, you’re aware that you’re alone in the residence, why would you ask “somebody” if he or she can hear that?
So puerile is the character that by the time she breaks down on the kitchen floor with ugly mascara smudges trailing down her pretty face, you would have totally discarded any form of sympathy for her.
To be fair, the real heroine of the show is actually Janet’s older sister Lara. Confused? Well, that’s what you get from a storyline that’s excruciatingly inconsistent.
One moment, viewers are watching Janet living through hell in her new apartment and suddenly the director shifts focus to Lara’s predicament of having to put up with the drunken banter of the sisters’ has-been singing superstar mother (played by Rebecca De Mornay).
There’s also Janet’s boyfriend who comes across as this jerky thug in the first half of the movie, but is actually an undercover cop with a secret life of his own. Say whaaaaaaaaaat?
Seriously, the plot is so disjointed to the extent that the 101-minute running time feels like an eternity and you’re left wondering if it’s worth your time sitting through the entire film.