At first the Japanese ghost story flicks were an exciting (and welcome) departure from the stale horror products that the U.S. was churning out. However, after countless clones and re-makes started to make their way to theaters and DVD, the fad started to wear thin. Need proof? Look no further than "Apartment 1303."
The plot: After a young girl named Sayaka leaps to her death, her sister Mariko begins to investigate her death. Mariko begins to uncover secrets about the apartment (number 1303) her sister lived and finds that several murders took place there. Even worse, she discovers a disturbing and tragic story of a mother and daughter living there. Is it possible the ghosts of the mother or daughter continue to haunt the apartment? Will anyone be able to escape the wrath of these ghosts? Is this a "Ju-On" and "Dark Water" rip-off?
Simply put, "Apartment 1303" is not the finest representation of the Japanese horror genre as it doesn't contain an original bone its body. Let's go through the list of familiar story elements, shall we? Long haired woman in white clothing? Check. Family member looking into death of another family member? Check. Flashbacks of an event that caused the ghostly occurrences? Check. Creepy kid? Check. Phone call from a dead person? Check. Sure, the film tries to add its own creepy moments, but it fails at doing so. A woman seeing a ghost, going mad, and eating dog food? Sorry, not scary. A chewed lipstick covered water bottle appearing out of nowhere? I'm not shaking in my boots.
In addition to the tired plot, the script contains an implausible plot device to further the story. I never once bought the fact that apartment was continuing to be rented out (even if it was seasonal). After all the young women that jumped off the balcony of that particular apartment, there is no way it would be rented out anymore (especially if a book was written about the cursed apartment!) I could see people breaking into the place out of curiosity, but no one would want to LIVE there.
The anamorphic widescreen picture appeared a bit cloudy. Granted, the lighting style was intentional, but it made me want to get an eye exam.
The disc contains 3 audio tracks: DTS Surround Sound 5.1, Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and Japanese 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround Sound tracks. I played the 5.1 track and I have no complaints. The sound f/x, dialogue, and music score all sound very good.
* Photo gallery.
* Trailers for "Apartment 1303," "Tartan Asia Extreme," "The Heirloom," "The Ghost," "Carved," "Silk," "Arang," and "Shutter." FYI: The U.S. re-make of "Shutter" will be out next year. Will this madness ever end?
* English and Spanish subtitles.
"Apartment 1303" is an unoriginal Japanese horror film that contains a story you have seen countless time before. Skip it and rent or buy "Pulse" instead.
Film and television enthusiast Nick Lyons recently had his first book published titled "Attack of the Sci-Fi Trivia." It is available on Amazon.com.