Tuesday, June 5, 2012

FILM REVIEW: Apartment 143 (2011)


Look! A brand new found footage film about a bunch of paranormal investigators trying to figure out what's haunting a family that is already shattered by personal struggles. Sounds original...doesn't it? At least it isn't bad.

Apartment 143 (Emergo for the purists out there) is actually a nice little effective film that uses some neat little tricks to raise a few hairs from the back of your neck. It isn't the best of its ilk and it doesn't break any new ground in the many subgenres it mashes together. But...if you're in the mood for something chilling with strong performances throughout, you can't go wrong with Apartment 143.

There's so much to like about this film that it makes it tough to dislike its many rehashed ideas and tired gimmicks that it uses to death along the way. It's kinda like a different point of view to a good film that you've already seen done a few dozen times. But, sometimes...you just feel like getting suckered in...despite already knowing what's going to happen and who's going to show up possessed and climbing a ceiling (it's in the poster). Sometimes you're just in the mood for a Mickey D's Quarter Pounder with cheese. You know it's going to give you heartburn and you might have anal leaking. But, so what? You already know that it's going to be a tasty burger. Unless, of course, someone spits in your burger when they see you pulling up in the drive thru after they find out that you've been sleeping with her best friend, who happens to work the fryalator...even tho you swear you used to date the girl in the Mickey D's on the other side of town. Damn, they all look the same.

Too much information (tmi)?


So, Apartment 143 starts off with the funny latino dude (Rick Gonzalez) from the gone-too-soon TV show Reaper, talking into a camera that he's apparently filming on his way, with his crew of parapsychologists, to the titular apartment where all hell has broken loose. Gonzalez provides the comic relief in the film in the form of Paul - the dude everyone in the audience can relate to. Alongside Paul is Ellen (Fiona Glascott) and Dr. Helzer (holy shit..it's silver screen legend Michael O'Keefe!). Upon arrival, we hook up with a disheveled Alan White (holy Jesus Christ it's Kai Lennox...the dude that Rollergirl beat the living fuck out of in Boogie Nights!) and his 4 year old son, Benny, and his adolescent jail-bait daughter, Caitlin (the lovely Gia Montegna channeling her Evil Dead).

So, it is revealed that this particular haunting has followed the White family from their original house to their present living environment in an effort to keep scaring the fuck out of them. It is also revealed by the good doctor that this might not be a supernatural entity after all...but, someone experiencing some kind of poltergeist syndrome or something. This is the part where the film attempts to throw a red herring your way. Those that normally predict every beat of the usual found footage supernatural blueprint will surely know what is going on long before the credits role. I'll be honest...I pretty much had everything figured out by the midway mark.


However, that is not to say that Apartment 143 is a bad experience by any measure. It does have its moments of HOLY FUCKING DAMN WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT??!!! And fused with the solid performances by everyone involved, the film creates a sense of emotional attachment usually absent from this particular subgenre. There's a scene later on where Kai Lennox pours his heart into the character of Alan that it melts away all the previous cynicism and doubt created by his daughter, Caitlin, and plants you directly into Alan's plight in salvaging whatever family he has left.

Though vapid of any real gore, the film does serve up a healthy dose of creepy shit that will surely keep you from straying off into a lethargic daze. It is a film best served in the darkness of your living room and the volume turned up high.

Carles Torrens does a fine job in his first attempt at directing a supernatural horror feature.

Apartment 143 is in the same league as the Paranormal Activity films or Insidious or any other film that ended up being much better than expected and managed to scare you silly in the process. We recommend it for those who enjoy stand-out performances with their creepy found footage films.


Thanks for reading,

bryan.


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