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Sunday, July 30, 2017

APT 3D -- Movie Review by Porfle

The old "haunted apartment" routine gets another crack at chilling our jaded blood in APT 3D (2014).  And, in its own slow, low-key, almost minimalist sort of way--with a few unexpected elements tossed into the mix, including sci-fi--it kinda does.

First-time writer-director Zack Imbrogno (with co-director Horst Dieter Baum) plays it like a slow tease, never giving us too much information at a time but always keeping us on edge, making us wait for each little clue as to what the hell's going on.

It all starts when Ben (Imbrogno) and his girlfriend Erin (Maxxe Sternbaum) move into the New York apartment of Ben's sister during her three-month jaunt to Africa.  Ben's all excited about his new TV-writing job, but Los Angeles girl Erin feels like a fish out of water and hates being left alone during the day.  This is just the beginning of a growing rift between them.

Making matters worse is a pushy, too-friendly neighbor named Chris (Jordan Lewis), whom Erin eventually suspects of stalking her.  The tension level is increased when we're shown brief glimpses of this.  But is he simply a pervert?  Or is there something more complicated, and perhaps more sinister, at work?

The apartment is small and modern, hardly the spacious old Gothic layout we see in such films as THE RESIDENT, but the directors manage to make it eerie enough with peripheral touches we almost don't notice--a shadow flitting across the wall, a closed door creaking open a crack--and weird, unexplained noises emanating from the most unlikely places.

It seems like a simple case of either stalking or paranormal infestation, except there are other things at work here such as UFOs glimpsed from the rooftop and bizarre visions that come over both Ben and Erin.  Some of the physical manifestations they experience along with these hallucinations seem...well...alien in nature.

APT 3D strings us along expertly and maintains a constant level of suspense, brimming with paranoia, that neither overdoes it nor loses its tension.  The gradual introduction of the more unbelievable, improbable aspects of their baffling plight only adds to our rapt involvement, even when we share Ben and Erin's skepticism when the enigmatic Chris turns out to be their main source of information.

Any more than this I'm loathe to reveal, save that this modestly budgeted mini-thriller with limited locations, a tiny cast, and a modicum of visual effects lets its actors and story carry us along in lieu of spectacle or sensation.  It's like a crackerjack extended episode of some excellent TV anthology like "The Outer Limits" or "Friday the 13th--The Series."

The one sticking point--which may be a make-or-break thing for many viewers--is the abrupt ending. Just when I think it's switching into high gear, there's the fadeout leaving us hanging.  But the more I thought about it, the more satisfied I was with the way APT 3D gives me just enough information and then allows me to imagine what happens next.  

Tech Specs
Runtime: 79 mins
Format: 1:85 Flat
Sound: Dolby SR
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Sci-Fi/Thriller

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