Se-jin is a young woman who lives alone in an apartment outside Seoul. She doesn't know what to do with herself after work, so instead of working on her computer, she takes her binoculars and observes people from the opposite block of flats. Soon, she discovers that every night, at the same time, when the lights turn off, one person dies in mysterious circumstances. Se-jin wants to find out the truth about those tragic deaths by conducting her own private investigation. Still, she must be cautious not to become the next victim.
At first glance, APT. looks like a Korean tribute towards Hitchcock's Rear Window.What is more, it even seems more like a remake of the American classic. The main character has problems with adapting to the new society and is bored with her lonely life. Although the conditions are slightly different, there is still a feeling of isolation and loneliness in the big city, which is the main aspect of the first couple of minutes. This helps to create a psychological portrait of the heroine and make the story more interesting. The director did the same in Phone and now continues to follow a similar direction. But when the plot develops, we can see that it has only been an inspiration for Ahn to create a realistic ghost story in the mood of the traditional Asian horror flick.
Because, that's mainly the point here. In order to entertain and keep the audience thrilled, he uses some elements from an average scary movie and puts them together like a master of his subject. The structure is schematic, but it doesn't bother in anyway. The interest rate rises with the plot's development and climax. Of course, a maniacal fan of these type of films can easily find some allusion towards other Asian horrors like Dark Water, The Ring or Red Shoes, but these repetitions work here just fine because they create a dark and murky atmosphere that wanders somewhere between the gothic and the spiritual world. Completely mesmerizing.
This review is generally positive, because you can't expect much after a horror flick. Ahn in creating his own vision of a Korean scare, copies elements from other movies of this genre and does it in a really good way. What is more, the obvious Rear Window comparison makes the story more realistic and frightening by keeping the sense of isolation and loneliness. So, not only do we treat the psychological aspect in a down-to-earth manner, but also by creating a climate of terror in a modern skyscraper. The only thing that actually disappoints is the ending. It proves that the director is only a decent craftsman who can use his tools properly, but not amazingly or surprisingly wonderful. I guess it's quite hard to beat the creators of Shutter and Alone.