Thank God for Netflix. Where else can you randomly browse horror movies you’ve never heard of before for free (if your parents have a subscription) and find some real gems?
Last night, I watched Occupant, a 2011 movie I’d never come across before. It stars Van Hansis, who apparently is a former soap actor but he’s actually pretty good here. Not too bad on the eyes, either. He plays Danny, a young man whose grandmother recently died. Danny wasn’t close to the old woman, and has little family, so he’s the one who has to deal with her belongings and whatnot. He learns that her NYC apartment was rent controlled, so instead of paying thousands a month for it, she only paid $500.
Danny talks to the creepy doorman and a skeezy lawyer and finds out if he stays in the apartment, the landlord can’t kick him out, and he can get a court order to put his name on his grandmother’s lease.
The only problem? The apartment is haunted.
In most ghost movies, I feel like the protagonists should just leave, but this actually gives a reason why Danny must stay cooped up in the beautiful haunted home.
The movie is quite affective. Good acting, good thrills, and it doesn’t shy away at the end. It’s a slow burn kind of a deal, where the creepy factor slowly rises the entire film.
Cons: Can’t think of much. The lawyer tells him it will take about 12 days, and then they number each day, but I wasn’t sure the 12 was a hard number so it felt like we weren’t counting up to anything in particular. I would have liked more of an explanation about the paranormal goings on. I’m not going to lose sleep over the mysterious aspects, though. How much does the creepy doorman know? What’s the origin of the ghost activity? More clues would have been nice. One can read into it that Danny is just crazy; Wikipedia even calls him a sleepwalker, but I don’t buy it.
Pros: Everything else. Cody Horn who I discovered a little while back on the Office has a few good scenes. The film is well shot. It captures the paranoia and despair of cabin fever. It draws you into this large apartment and then makes you feel claustrophobic. Well done.
This is exactly the type of movie that had a big name star like a John Cusack or Zac Efron been involved in, then it would have been a blockbuster hit that everyone heard about.
In closing, I give this a solid 4.1 out of 5 stars. From the glowing review, I feel like it deserves more, but ultimately it is a simple movie.
This is Elliot Arthur Cross signing off. Keep warm, New Englanders, and anyone else looking out their window at the snow covered streets.