Austin Highsmith (apparently a woman, despite the butch name) moves into a new apartment complex called The Dante (uh-huh), on New Yearís Eve. The Dante is managed by a kook named Ed, whose desk is in the service elevator (which presumably doesnít go all the way to the top). Her surrounding tenants are similarly quirky, and have a habit of bursting into her apartment without prior warning. Ryan Doom (surely the coolest name of all-time) plays a brooding young artist who seems to be one of the more well-balanced of the tenants. DJ Qualls plays a guy with a camera heís constantly filming everyone with. All of a sudden, bodies start turning up, but whenever Highsmith calls the cops, the bodies suddenly disappear. Is she losing her mind? Is someone playing a prank on her? And why does the landlord warn her to stay out of the file room?
A lot of my more recent horror movie reviews have been quite positive, and whilst this 2009 Stephen Cragg film is still OK, itís a bit of a step down from others Iíve seen in recent months (Particularly the similar ďThe EchoĒ). Itís a bit of a shame that the destination is predictable, because the journey is interesting and oddball. It had me intrigued for the most part. Think of it as ďDonít Look NowĒ meets ďThe TenantĒ.
In a cast that features quirky DJ Qualls in a frivolous role, character actor John Bishop comes off best as bizarro hotel owner Ed. All of the characters are a bit off-centre, and certainly have no idea about social graces, though lead actress Austin Highsmith plays a slightly stuck-up character, it must be said.
I like the apartment set, itís rundown, but kinda cool and creepy. Itís a well-shot and beautiful film, so itís a shame that this is video and not celluloid. The lighting by Michael Lohmann in particular is impressive, as is the Carpenter-esque throbbing score. I donít really know why thereís so much product placement for Mountain Dew, that was a bit much (Actually I do know, Mountain Dew apparently produced it. I just donít know why). I also have to take issue with the annoyingly shaky and over-edited lesbian scene that robs it of much hotness. Thatís a big no-no in my book.
An interesting and unique idea that almost comes off, and is certainly watchable if youíre looking for something off-kilter. It hasnít inspired me to drink Mountain Dew, though, which sounds like the name hikerís use to describe their sweaty armpits.