Director: Owen Tooth
Writer: Adam J. Marsh
Stars: Jason Mewes, Roxanne Pallett, Frances Ruffelle
Following in the wake of Tower Block, Heartless and Citadel, here’s another entry in the council flat horror sub-genre that has bubbled to life over the last five years or so. This time round there are some differences: it’s not a hoodie horror like most of these films; although the titular building has its share of lurking urchins they’re not source of the fear, more unprepossessing set decoration. Furthermore, the scares are leavened by humour and the film as a whole exhibits a sense of the fantastic which is unusual. Unfortunately, it also happens to be a complete mess, a film which becomes more and more stupid as the running time progresses, leaving it as a distinctly inferior companion piece to the aforementioned titles.
The central idea isn’t bad. Sarah (Roxanne Pallett) is given a flat in Albion Court, a run down tower block with a bad reputation, having fallen out with her horrible mother. After meeting some eccentric neighbours and the self-important caretaker she begins to suspect that something might be wrong with the building, which has a recent history blotted by inexplicable suicides and gruesome accidents. She’s right: Albion Court is haunted by the ghost of an old lady who used to live on one of the top floors and whose corpse lay undiscovered for four years after her death.
Although the initial premise has some potential, this is a film that doesn’t really work. The tone is too uneven, as though it can’t decide whether to be a comedy or a horror film and as a result ends up being nothing much of either. The writers also run out of ideas at about the sixty minute mark, throwing in an unconvincing zombie outbreak in an attempt to keep things moving. Most of all, though, it suffers from the somewhat grating presence of Jason Mewes, erstwhile buddy of Kevin Smith and star of Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. There’s nothing wrong with what Mewes does, apart from the fact that he’s doing it in completely the wrong film and not for one moment does he convince as a well-meaning American squatter. In it’s favour the locations are well used, the running time short and there are decent performances from the effectively chavvy looking Roxanne Pallett (Emmerdale) as the protagonist and Jessica-Jane Stafford as an entertainingly pernickety sexpot neighbour.