The Graveyard Apartment Review
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It’s often said that, in the real estate business, it’s all about location, location, location. But even though the location of the home in The Graveyard Apartment, translated from the 1986 thriller by Japanese author Mariko Koike, is convenient, it could turn out to be deadly.

The story follows a young family as they move into a beautiful new building in a neighborhood that’s less than ideal. The apartments of Central Plaza Mansion are all bright and airy and spacious, and the price is remarkable. But the building is surrounded by death—a graveyard, a temple, and a crematorium. At first, the Kano family is convinced that the graveyard is a reasonable trade-off. But when their daughter sustains a mysterious injury and the other neighbors start moving out in desperation to escape the darkness that seems to envelop the building, they begin to worry for their safety.

From the beginning, The Graveyard Apartment is an eerie read. The opening scenes give readers just the slightest feeling of dread—an awareness that something here just isn’t right—and that feeling only builds as the story continues. One strange occurrence is followed by another until even the most skeptical characters can no longer deny the fact that something dark and sinister is lurking in the depths of this otherwise bright and modern new building.

While the atmosphere here is definitely chilling, though, the story also misses some great opportunities. The characters were already haunted before they moved into the building—haunted by their past and the tragic consequences of their actions. But while their troubled history is often mentioned and referred to throughout the story, it never really goes anywhere.

Meanwhile, as the threat escalates all around the building, some of the things that happen seem strange and out of place—and not entirely appropriate for the tone of the story. And while the characters look into the history of the area, giving the occurrences some kind of context, the explanations aren’t seem weak and incomplete. So while this hit Japanese thriller is a haunting and suspenseful supernatural read, it isn’t an especially satisfying one.

The Graveyard Apartment is certainly a chilling read—one that will probably make you think twice before venturing into any basement after you finish reading it. But some of the elements either get lost in translation or they simply aren’t as strong as they could have been.

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