I didn’t realize it until today, but nothing would be more terrifying than being trapped in an apartment piled with packing peanuts at the hands of your creepy neighbor.
Luckily Juliette Lewis, as Jane Emelin in The 4th Floor, made it out but what she doesn’t know is if her creepy neighbor was really behind terrorizing her for weeks after she moves into her late aunt’s fourth-floor walk up or if it was someone close to her.
I won’t spoil it because the suspense in the film, also starring William Hurt and Shelley Duvall (you won’t recognize her), keeps it going for the 90 minutes of neighborly arguments turned — almost — deadly.
Emelin is dating William Hurt’s character, a television weatherman Greg Harrison, but decides to delay moving in with him to stay where her aunt lived. The fact that her aunt fell down the stairs and died in the very building Jane moved into should have been her first red flag, but she had memories of visiting the building and clearly wasn’t ready for shacking up with her local celebrity boyfriend.
That turned out to be a bad decision as the neighborly issues escalated from notes on her door to loud banging, knocks on the door in the middle of the night and eventually the classic mice and maggots infestation trick,
The 4th Floor obviously isn’t the source of William Hurt’s Oscar-winning performance, but it does present just enough suspense and scares if that’s what you’re in the mood for and has a good enough twist ending — even after the packing peanuts scene if you can believe it.
Writer and director Josh Klausner presents the question of who is really terrorizing Jane up until the end. Is it her neighbor downstairs, the super, her best friend who is jealous of her apartment, the man across the street who she perhaps witnesses commit a crime or someone else entirely?
The 4th Floor, as far as apartment-building centered thrillers goes, is not nearly as weird as Single White Female (at least I remember it being that way) and if nothing else is another excuse to watch William Hurt on screen. Just know that he, and Greg Harrison, will do whatever it takes.