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Film / Apartment Zero

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Don't worry. He'll clean the carpet.

"He could be anyone. Perhaps someone you know. Someone in your family. Someone you work with. Someone you trust. Even your next door neighbor."

Apartment Zero is a 1988 Argentine-British thriller written by Martin Donovan.

Colin Firth plays Adrian Du Luc, a reclusive, finicky man who loves movies. When his revival theater starts losing money, he decides to advertise for a room mate. Jack Carney (Hart Bochner), a handsome American who bears a resemblance to James Dean, answers the ad.

Adrian's mother is sick, and her health starts to get worse. One of Adrian's employees uses the theater to show footage that will help people identify war criminals for the authorities. Jack gets along well with the new neighbors.

Everything seems fine, at first. But Adrian is clingy and possessive, the neighbors are suspicious, and a killer is stalking the streets of Buenos Aries.


  • Ambiguously Gay: Adrian develops what is obviously a homoerotic obsession with Jack, which he tries to hide by unconvincingly telling Jack that he "likes women." Adrian is such an emotionally repressed recluse, however, that it's likely that he didn't have an active sex life of any kind at any point in his life.
  • Bloody Handprint: The camera follows a trail of bloody hand prints and skid marks down the wall and to the bed, where we see the mangled, naked corpse of the man Jack killed for his passport.
  • Cat Up a Tree: Well, up a ladder. Jack "saves" the puss, and the old ladies adore him.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Jack is implied to have sex with both women and men, and is later revealed to be a sadistic serial killer.
  • Former Regime Personnel: It turns out that Jack was part of a death squad during the Dirty War.
  • Held Gaze: Jack and just about everybody else, but especially Adrian.
  • I Just Want to Be You: There are aspects of this in Adrian's obsession with Jack. In his final scene, Adrian is wearing a leather jacket and otherwise trying to mimic Jack's style.
  • Internal Reveal: The audience finds out that Jack is a killer before Adrian does.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Adrian's neighbors are suspicious of him because of this trope. Given his odd behavior, their suspicions aren't unjustified.
  • Mask of Sanity: Jack turns out to be just as crazy, if not crazier, than Adrian.
  • "Rear Window" Investigation: The neighbors are leery of Adrian, but when they hear about the murders, they become outright suspicious of him. They try to subtly test the waters, just to see if they really need to be worried. It doesn't go well.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Jack and Adrian.
  • Wham Line:
    Human Rights Advocate: "We're not looking for any particular face here, there is no recognizable look to the killer. He could be anyone. Perhaps someone you know. Someone in your family. Someone you work with. Someone you trust. Even your next door neighbor. "
  • Wham Shot:
    • When Adrian walks into the apartment and sees Claudia's body.
    • There is another when you see the bloody remains of the man Jack killed for his passport.
    • Adrian is watching the footage of the militants. Then the camera shifts and reveals Jack watching Adrian.