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Apartment 1303 (UK Blu-ray / DVD)

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Warm Bodies (Blu-ray / DVD)Starring Mischa Barton, Rebecca de Mornay, Julianne Michelle, Corey Sevier

Directed by Michael Taverna

Distributed by Koch Media


Director Michael Taverna attempts to stage a 3D-oriented J-Horror remake comeback with a star-led US rendition of Ataru Oikawa’s original haunted house flick Apartment 1303. Here, Mischa Barton runs the show as the beleaguered Lara Slate. While dealing with an already tumultuous home life involving her alcoholic ex-hitmaker songstress mother (de Mornay), Lara finds things taking a turn for the tragic when her younger sister, Janet (Michelle), takes a dive from the balcony of the apartment she had been renting for only a few days.

Moving into the apartment to investigate the reasons behind her sister’s erratic, frightened behaviour in the days prior to her supposed suicide, Lara soon discovers that the titular apartment still houses a particularly nasty resident — one of the ghostly kind, and who doesn’t want anyone else setting foot on their turf.

So far, so fundamental in terms of the cinematic ghost story, but while Apartment 1303 manages to lay the groundwork for such a tale sufficiently, it completely fails to add even a single layer of the necessary basic structure on top to spectacularly awful effect. Each and every cast member seems either bored out of their minds, or hamming for the camera like they’re performing in some hyperbolic Lifetime television special about suburban infidelity. Barton sleepwalks her way through the film, displaying very little in terms of recognisable grief once she has successfully moved into the apartment. Worse still is the painfully obvious slumming of the usually dependable Rebecca de Mornay. She’s a big name to have in a film such as this, but throughout every single scene she seems like she wishes nothing more than to be as drunk as the character she’s playing in order to ride her way through this shit and fail to remember it afterwards. The less said about the supporting actors, and their characters, the better. If this had been filmed as a puppet show, the stiffness may have been forgivable. But it isn’t, and… it isn’t.

Speaking of filming, Apartment 1303 appears to have actually been shot in 3D, rather than being a conversion job, and it shows — but not in a good way. When viewing in 2D (as the DVD edition solely allows — you’ll need Blu-ray for the 3D experience, not that it would help with the narrative issues), the colour correction remains entirely geared towards the inherent dampening of 3D glasses. Thus, everything looks strangely saturated, off-key, and distinctly cheap. At no point does the cinematography here, nor director Taverna’s choice of camera placement and blocking, feel anything close to cinematic.

If you’re looking for scares, look elsewhere as there are next to none to be found here. Save for one surprising revelation that’s delivered as less of a sucker punch than it is a squeaky toy hammer to the upper shoulder, Apartment 1303 is as predictable as they come. Stingers abound, and genuine tension is distressingly scarce. Worst of all, however, is the mind-bogglingly pathetic final act that sees the murderous spirit involved deliver the most laughably absurd playground shove of a death you’ll see on screen this year. At the same time, answers behind the haunting of the apartment are either skirted around or plain ignored, leading to a finale that’s as hollow and unsatisfying as just about everything else on show.

Bereft of interesting characters, dialogue, acting ability, scares, visual aplomb or much of anything else, Apartment 1303 is occasionally good for a derogatory laugh, or simply to witness what must be the middle of one serious mire in Rebecca de Mornay’s career. That’s not what we’re here for, though. No sir.

In terms of special features, Koch Media’s UK DVD release of Apartment 1303 is, fittingly, as bare bones as the story contained within.

Film:

1/2 out of 5

Special Features:
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0 out of 5

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

  • Film
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Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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IAMX’s Alive in New Light Review – A Dark, Hypnotic, and Stunning Musical Endeavor

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Recording eight albums is an achievement no matter the artist, group, or band. This is especially true for Chris Corner’s IAMX, his solo project after the trip hop group Sneaker Pimps, which has enchanted listeners since 2004’s Kiss + Swallow with its dark electronic aesthetic. There’s something fascinating about the music Corner puts out as IAMX. Perhaps it’s the underlying melancholy that seems to pervade the music, almost certainly a result of the musician’s battle with depression and chronic insomnia [Source]. Perhaps it’s the unexpected melodies that reveal themselves with each new measure. Whatever it is, IAMX’s music is a constant delight.

On Alive in New Light, Corner reveals that his eighth album was a product he created as a way of “…breaking free from demons that have long plagued him,” per an official press release. Strangely enough, this uplifting attitude may easily be overlooked but repeat listens unveil a sense of hope and wonder that are simply breathtaking. The title track echoes with almost angelic choir pads that positively shine as Corner exultingly cries in a shimmering falsetto, “I’m alive in new light!” This comes after the Depeche Mode-esque “Stardust”, which offers the first collaboration with Kat Von D, whose pure voice is a beautiful addition to the pulsating track.

The third track, “Break The Chains”, has an opening that immediately called to mind Birds of Tokyo’s “Discoloured”, which is meant as a compliment. It’s followed by the Nine Inch Nails influenced “Body Politics”, which meshes Corner’s crooning vocals with a 90’s industrial backdrop. “Exit” has an almost sinister progression lurking in the background that builds to an aggressive, in-your-face third act. The cinematic Middle Eastern flairs of “Stalker” mutate effortlessly into a heartbeat pulse that features back-and-forth vocals between Corner and Von D. The haunted circus vibe that permeates through “Big Man” is mirrored by its playful gothic aura, ghostly “oohs” and “aahs” sprinkled carefully here and there.

While the album has been a delight up to this point, it’s the final two tracks that took my breath away and left me stunned. “Mile Deep Hollow” builds layer after layer while Corner passionately cries out, “So thank you/you need to know/that you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow/and I love you/you brought me home/because you dragged me out/of a mile deep hollow.” The way the song’s melodies back these wonderfully uplifting lyrics feels grand and epic, as though a journey is coming to an end, which is where “The Power and the Glory” comes in. Far more subdued, it’s a beautiful song that feels almost like a religious experience, a hymn of a soul that is desperate to claw its way to salvation and escape a life of pain and darkness.

What makes Alive in New Light so wonderful is how much there is to experience. I got the album and listened to it no less than five times in a row without pause. I simply couldn’t turn it off because each return revealed something new in the music. Corner also makes fantastic use of Von D’s vocals, carefully placing them so as to make them a treat and not a commonplace certainty.

While some may be disappointed that there are only nine tracks, each of the songs is carefully and meticulously crafted to be as powerful and meaningful as possible. It really is a stunning accomplishment and I’m nothing short of blown away by how masterfully Alive in New Light plays out.

  • Alive in New Light
5.0

Summary

IAMX’s Alive in New Light is a triumph of music. Full of beauty and confidence, it doesn’t forget the foundation that fans have come to know and love for over a decade but instead embraces that comfortable darkness with open arms. Corner states that this album was a way to break free from his demons. It certainly feels like he’s made peace with them.

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User Rating 5 (2 votes)
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