“Apartment 413” is a taut psychological thriller about isolation and paranoia, featuring stellar performances, that really hits the mark.
Apartment 413 is a psychological horror about a down-on-his-luck, soon-to-be father who is trying to find a job before the birth of his child, and struggling with his sanity as increasingly strange things happen in the apartment where he spends most of his day.
The film starts with a bang, as a man is packing boxes to move out of the titular apartment, before murdering his partner with a hammer.
Fast forward two years and Marco is introduced. Marco is out of work and hunting for jobs online, spending all day in his apartment while his pregnant girlfriend Dana, played by genre favorite Brea Grant, goes out to work.
The ritualistic monotony of his daily life is captured in the routines of getting up, showering, making coffee and toast, and sitting at his laptop day after day looking for jobs.
One day bleeds into the next with this repetition and starts to put a strain on Marco and Dana’s relationship.
Strange things begin to happen around the apartment as cryptic notes written on post-its keep appearing and Marco finds an old phone that is also sending cryptic messages.
These things, mixed with the isolation that Marco is facing stuck in the apartment all day, begin to build his feelings of paranoia.
Marco tidies the apartment, only to be met with a mess when he turns back around. He starts to question if someone is out to get him, if there is something wrong with the apartment, or if he is just starting to lose his grip on reality. Marco starts to take pictures around the apartment to make sure what he is seeing is real and not just in his head.
With the encouragement of Dana, he goes to see a doctor as his paranoia begins to get dangerous.
Apartment 413 is one of those films with a very limited cast, with most of the interaction occurring onscreen between only two people.
Furthermore, Marco is alone onscreen a lot of the time.
This can sometimes make scenes in a film feel like they are dragging on while waiting for the next pivotal plot point. Not here though, Nicholas Saenz playing Marco is engaging to watch as he struggles with his sanity in the empty apartment, and the interactions between himself and Brea Grant as Dana are equally enthralling.
When this kind of film is done right, it can really create discomfort and tension in the viewer as the film progresses, and APARTMENT 413 certainly delivers in those respects. It clocks in at under an hour and a half so doesn’t feel as though it overstays its welcome — successfully creating a sense of confusion as to what is real and what isn’t.
Most of the film is shot in a small apartment, with only a handful of moments filmed elsewhere, helping to portray the claustrophobic isolation that Marco feels.
The character of Marco is relatable to most people these days, as he searches for work day after day with a feeling of futility over the whole task. It’s a position a lot of people have experienced at least once in their lives.
Because of this relatability to the character, the claustrophobic feeling of being stuck in the apartment easily gets under the skin early on.
Now, I’d like to talk a little about Brea Grant if I may. I’m a big Brea Grant fan, so anything with her name on will get me excited to watch. Over the last couple of years, whether she’s writing, directing, or starring in a film, it has been an absolute win in my books.
Although these days she’s working more behind the camera, it is always a pleasure to see Brea Grant onscreen in projects like Apartment 413.
Overall, Apartment 413 is a tight psychological horror, with a strong character focus, that successfully hits all the notes it plays. The short runtime means that the pacing is great and never leaves you bored. It’s definitely worth a watch if you’re into the thriller side of the horror genre.