You know our jam at B&S About Movies: we love the drive-in and VHS flicks of yesteryear (give us a Mill Creek box set to unpack), but we also enjoy exposing our readers to the new, indie vanguard of streaming filmmakers in lieu of the A-List popcorn balls and tent poles coming out of Hollywood.
Is that because of our cinematic snobbery? Not at all.
We enjoy the big movies (we loved Solo: A Star Wars Story, Wonder Woman 1984 was meh, while Hitman’s Wife Bodyguard and Suicide Squad ’21 worked out okay) as much as the little ones. What really intrigues us at B&S About Movies aren’t those filmmakers with ten or one hundred million dollars in their pocket: it’s what the filmmakers with $10,000 or $100,000 in their pocket can do. (The production cost of one shot/scene in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman could cover the entire production cost of an indie streamer.)
Such a film is Apartment 413, an intelligently written and directed, feature film debut by screenwriter Ron Meade and director Matt Patterson. As explained during a showing at the Austin Film Festival in 2019, the duo came together via Patterson discovering Meade’s single-location screenplay — originally known as The Church Bells All Were Broken — on the on InkTip.com screenplay hosting service.
Neither, as is the case with most of the feature-length indies uploaded to the streaming-verse, are inexperienced first timers: Meade and Patterson both come with extensive careers working in various disciplines on streaming series, shorts and features. In fact, Ron Meade most recently worked on the post-production process of a pretty fine indie we recently reviewed, Gap Weekend (2021). Kevin Smith fans know Matt Paterson as result of selling his screenplay for Bindlestiffs (2012) to the View Askew-verse.
The most accomplished, recognizable member of the cast is Brea Grant; her 85-credits strong career dates to recurring and co-starring roles on Friday Night Lights (2008), Heroes (2009), and Dexter (2011), as well as guest starring roles on Anger Management, NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. On the big screen, you’ve seen Grant in Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009) and the indie-horror Beyond the Gates (2016). You’ve seen her fellow lead, Nicholas Saenz, on John Ridley’s short-lived series American Crime (2015), as well as NBC-TV’s failed apoc-drama, Revolution (2014).
An unemployed Marco (Saenz) spends his days applying for jobs online and waiting for Dana (Grant), his employed, pregnant girlfriend to get home . . . if she is, in fact, even real. As his lonely, shut-in world begins to shrink, strange post-it notes mysteriously appear around the apartment with cryptic warnings, notes that may be from his own-self or reminders from Dana. Perhaps it’s that creepy car mechanic he sees in the complex parking lot through the apartment window who is texting and calling him from an old, non-functioning cell phone. Will anyone hear Marco’s cries . . . or will his paranoia, self-loathing and doubt destroy his world? Are his “church bells,” in fact, broken?
Courtesy of its skilled group of filmmakers behind and in front of the camera, the Hitchockian-styled Apartment 413 accomplishes much with its obviously tight budget and small cast. This is one of those indie-streamers worthy of dropping your coin in the digital nickelodeon. It’s also one of those films where you look forward to the next works of Ron Meade and Matt Patterson.
Apartment 413 becomes available for streaming from Terror Films on various platforms on September 17, 2021. You can learn more about the film’s production on its official Facebook page, as well as the previously noted Austin Film Festival and InkTip links.
Fans of Austin-produced indies may also want to check out the well-done-on-a-budget Why Haven’t They Fixed the Cameras Yet? (2020) and Nana’s Secret Recipe (2020). Both stream for free via the links in the reviews.
Disclaimer: We were provided a screener copy of this film from the production’s PR firm. That has no bearing on our review.