Apartment 212 (2017)

directed by haylar garcia
unreal media/wrecking ball pictures

Originally titled “Gnaw,” this indie flick had me wondering for much of its first hour or so if it was actually a parable about domestic violence. Whatever the case, the last 40-odd minutes took it into supernatural horror territory and were quite fraught with tension, although also quite evocative of The Babadook. That connection was only strengthened for this reviewer by its oddly casual, offbeat resolution, which interjects a cutesy element to the proceedings along with a tinge of humor. Indeed, after all the buildup, the way our heroine ultimately triumphs over the totemic manifestation of her adversities is completely anticlimactic – cleverly acknowledged onscreen by the character’s reaction. This production doesn’t seem quite sure how to blend its disparate elements; it also verges on clumsiness at times.  Additionally, some of its generic characterizations seem little more than ciphers. Overall, though, I usually tend to champion efforts of this sort, which both show ambition and demonstrate a level of skill to match. A bit more deftness in future endeavors, and this director may really have something. A touch more originality wouldn’t hurt, either.

why did i watch this movie?

At the very moment I was browsing for some title or another, I noticed this festival-circuit breakout coincidentally enjoying a limited theatrical run.

should you watch this movie?

It’s available on all kinds of streaming platforms at this very moment.

highlight and low point

A few minor subtleties in this film provoke a splendid sense of heartrending empathy, and a couple of the key roles are performed with real depth. A certain level of ambiguity in the ending is unfortunate, the soundtrack is misplaced (and atrocious), and a montage runs way long.

rating from outer space: B+

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