Apartment 16 – Review

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I finished Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill a few days ago, so thought I’d do a quick review.

The story follows two key characters, Seth a struggling artist who is working nights as a porter in the upmarket apartments, Barrington House in London while trying to find his muse and the young American, Apryl, visiting to dispose of the belongings of her recently deceased great Aunt Lillian.

As Apryl sifts through her estranged aunt’s belongings she becomes increasingly consumed by a need to learn about Lillian’s life, especially when she discovers the strange circumstances of her death and her almost illegible diaries. It appears that something has been keeping the inhabitants of Barrington House from leaving, despite their fear and unhappiness at being there, the question is what and why?

Seth has been receiving complaints about a burning smell and his investigations take him to the door of the permanently empty apartment 16.  It’s not long before, first in his dreams, then his waking life he is dominated by the presence of a mysterious child who leads him through the next few terrifying weeks.

It becomes increasingly apparent that there is a dark presence prowling the corridors of Barrington House, seen in the corner of an eye passing through the glass of a mirror or in the few pictures that still adorn the walls.  Apryl puts her feelings down to an empathy with the paranoia of her dead aunt, but Seth finds a compelling obsession in visiting the apartment that begins to inspire his art work at a devastating and irreversible price. The two characters paths are bound to cross at some point, but what will happen then?

The story is fast-paced and kept me on the edge of my proverbial seat throughout. The atmosphere held me one step back from a dark precipice of fear, never quite able to breathe a sigh of relief, never quite knowing what might happen next and how safe the characters were. However, it also never quite scared me. Only almost. The concepts of the story are great, the basic premise had promise of depth and truth that is often lacking in horror stories, but it didn’t quite pay off. A lot of cliché, a lot of scenes that have been done before. Unfortunately, like so many horror stories, it fell apart in the final pages, leaving me unsatisfied. A series of contrived and unlikely occurences and actions resulted in the classic conclusions (without wanting to give too much away!) and of course there has to be the “Or is it the end…?” ending, so over done in this genre.

Overall though, it was an enjoyable and well written if a little guilty of the crimes that seem to afflict most horror (could this be my issue and not theirs?). I would recommend it to others as a fun flick, and will definitely look into more work from Mr Nevill.

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