Starring: Naoko Otani, Eriko Hatsune, Yuka Itaya, Arata Furuta, Noriko

Directed by: Ataru Oikawa

Story: A modern ghost story which turns a love hate relationship between
mother and daughter into a tale of horror.


If you've seen Takashi Shimizu's Ju-On (The Grudge), then you've seen
almost every other Asian ghost movie. The problem I have with Asian
horror films is that they're alike in one way or another. Ghosts and curses
seem to be a popular trend, and combined they make for interesting yet
repetitive tales. I can't even begin to count how many Asian supernatural
horror films I've seen this year that featured the same villain, same curse
and same cast of characters. Every once in a while I'll see something
refreshing. The Ghost of Mae Nak played out line an "Omen" or "Final
Destination" movie, Shutter had a very depressing twist and Silk threw in
some science fiction to make the story fresh and entertaining. Not every
Asian horror film reads from the same book. When they do, I just dismiss
them as being pointless and unnecessary. Apartment 1303 definitely reads
from the same book. It's your basic supernatural thriller about a curse or
"entity" that haunts an entire apartment complex.

More specifically room 1303, which has a mysterious back story that you
can smell from a mile away. At the start of the film we follow a young
woman who moves out of her mom's house into an apartment complex
complete with nice rooms and a swimming pool. Sayaka starts living in
room 1303, right on the 13th floor. Shortly after Sayaka makes herself
comfy, she commits suicide by jumping off of the balcony. Sayaka's friends
and family attend the funeral, and leaves her older sister Mariko and her
mother to live out their lives alone. After the funeral the relationship
between Mariko and her mother begin to crumble, and soon after that
Mariko discovers that her sister wasn't the first person living in 1303 to
commit suicide. As Mariko begins to uncover the shocking history of
apartment 1303, she comes face-to-face with an evil more powerful and
terrifying than she could have ever imagined.

Reading this plot line is like reading the back of all the recent Tartan Asia
Extreme releases. Some stories differ, but they're usually about some sort
of curse or haunting. Most of the time they throw in dead children and
older female ghosts with long dark hair. Apartment 1303 plays out like a
spin off of The Grudge where you follow characters who rent out a haunted
apartment only to plummet to their death. There aren't really any twists to
the movie, just some
"I would have figured that" type of reveals.
Apartment 1303 not only repetitive, it's predictable in the sense that you
know what these characters are going to do. For most of the film we follow
Mariko, who's hell bent on finding out more on the apartment. Not only
does she make lousy decisions, but she always seems to be in trouble.
While she stays at apartment 1303, she starts getting spooked out by
some ghost who had a pretty shit life with her abusive mother.

Oops, did I just spoil the twist? Not really. I'm guessing you're supposed
to have known this already, because that's one of the first things that
comes to mind knowing that you have a spirit haunting an apartment
building. It really does feel like a Ju-On knock off. With that said I don't see
why anybody would waste their time with this. After seeing it for myself I
wish I hadn't. Nothing is new here, it's the same ghost/curse story with
the same young characters. We've been down this path before, it's nothing
freshing. The most I could give it credit for is the score. Everything else
feels like it's fresh from the assembly line. We know how most of these
ghost stories play out. Once you get to the ending, you'll know for sure
that you've wasted about an hour and a half of your time. Had they put in
something different I would have enjoyed it more. The fact that it's the
same basic thing over and over just made it pointless.

Overall: 4/10
Genres: Drama, Horror


Country: Japan

Year: 2007

Runtime: 94 minutes

Studio: Tartan Video


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Review done by: Nightmare Child
Online since: February 20th, 2006
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