Thursday, 14 May 2015


APT is a 2006 South Korean horror film based on a comic by Kang Full. Directed, produced and written by Ahn Byeong-ki. Byeong-ki is well known in the horror genre, having directed both Bunshinsaba 1 & 2, Nightmare and my own personal favourite, The Phone. All of which are essentially the same movie. 

Apartment (APT) is a cross between two familiar themes. One being an Asian ghost story, all the rage back in 2006, and the other being Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. What sets it apart (the only thing that sets it apart really) is the accomplished direction.

Oh Se-jin (Ko So-young), a lonely business woman, is haunted by a woman at a train station who commits suicide after their brief altercation. We enter Rear Window territory when Oh Se-jin notices the lights in the building across from her apartment flickering at the same time every night, and strange events (mostly suicide) take place shortly after. 

It takes a little while for the police to suspect her, seeing as she's always close by when disaster strikes, and even though the detective investigating the case is suspicious of Se-jin, he has to let her go because ghosts tend to clean up after themselves. Introduce wheelchair-bound neighbour Yoo-yeon (Jang Hie-jin) and we re-enter familiar horror territory. The girl is being abused by her carers, there's a ghost on the loose and things are about to get very creepy indeed.

Ahn Byeong-ki has been making the same movie for years now, which isn't particularly courageous of him, however, it does mean he knows a thing or two about staging scares. Apartment is an atmospheric offering that relies on familiar shock-tactics, scares and themes. The only thing that makes it bearable is the fact that Byeong-ki is relatively accomplished in this field. 

There are moments to savour and it never gets boring, but Apartment won't be remembered as one of South Korea's greatest offerings. The characters are forgettable, they act in stupid ways, and there is nothing here that we haven't seen a million times before. It's a solid genre effort but you can do far better. In fact, Byeong-ki did just that, four years earlier with The Phone. 

APT is not without merit then, but approach with caution; creepy grinding noise optional.

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