A Micheal Taverna directed US remake based on the ‘J-horror’ of the same name originally written by Kei Oshi (inexplicably on writing duties again here), Apartment 1303 is a painful reminder of what happens when remakes go wrong.
Problems start early with the performances, the cast is frankly terrible throughout. Micha Barton seems bored and looks like she wants to be somewhere else. Even the usually dependable Rebbeca De Mornay is phoning in her performance and taking the cash. It’s hard enough to make the audience care about characters with a strong cast yet alone when it appears no one even wants to be on the set.
The story isn’t any better, all the ‘J-horror’ elements are present and correct, scary children, angry ghosts and creepy apartments but it’s all been done to death by both the Japanese and Americans so why drag the audience through the same old clichés yet again? Certain plot developments make absolutely no sense at all, why on earth would anyone move into the apartment where numerous young women have died under mysterious circumstances and then seem shocked when bad things start to happen? … utter nonsense.
Taverna does manage to deliver some small moments of tension, the opening of the film starts out well enough. However, an initially atmospheric visit to the titular apartment is quickly spoiled by a character who continually talks to herself, essentially relaying all the character’s motivations through a ridiculous monologue over-stuffed with ‘on the nose’ dialogue.
There really isn’t anything to recommend here, either revisit the earlier Japanese horror classics or check out Gore Verbinski’s surprisingly decent Ring but don’t take the time to visit this run down apartment.