The directors of found footage horror films must not think too highly of their audience. There are those who care - MOST of the boys behind this year's rather good found footage anthology "V/H/S" - and those who don't. The latest byproduct of the people who don't to find its way into my poor old television is "Apartment 143", a flick that I knew from the get-go was probably going to be a complete waste of time from the trailers alone, but as always I fucked up and decided to watch it anyways. Do I regret it? As much as I always do when it comes to bad movies, horror especially. It's not the worst of its kind, but when that's literally the best you can say for it, you know you're in trouble. I guess I'll try to say whatever "good" I can about it, but honestly there isn't much going for it in that department.
A team of paranormal investigators - they refer to themselves as parapsychologists - is hired by a tenant in an old apartment building by the name of Alan White (Kai Lennox). He lives in the apartment with his teenage daughter Caitlin and young son Benny, and has been experiencing the usual paranormal phenomena (strange noises, shit moving on its own, footsteps from above even though there aren't occupants in the apartments) that would provoke someone to want to call these guys in to do a little investigation. They set up cameras in every room and every hallway, and it doesn't take long for the paranormal activity to begin.
The team does a little bit of spirit photography (as some call it) in Caitlin's room and discovers what looks like a woman-like figure lingering in the darkness of the photograph. This, of course, leads them to believe that the poltergeist - if it is one - is a woman. Fair enough. We learn that Alan had a wife who died not too long ago, so it might be her. The film constantly makes an attempt to be some sort of mainstream mind-trip in which we're lead to believe that it is the wife one moment and that it's not another, and then there's some big-shot twist towards the end. This technique doesn't really work in this setting; especially when the filmmaking itself is so poor.
I've seen this all before; seemingly endless and bland conversations carried out in between each big scare/scene. It would help to at least be given a few characters that we can give a shit about, but "Apartment 143" gets right down to it; basically meaning that it skips over the proper character introductions and simply lets them do their job. Spending as much time with them as we do becomes more of a chore than anything else. And the dialogue isn't interesting; such a shame that there's so much talking. This really, really hurts the pacing; and the payoff scenes aren't even worth it. Sure, you get some decent effects here and there; but who needs 'em.
Director Carles Torrens apparently doesn't understand the element of not putting real actors (or ones we might have seen before depending on what movies we've seen) in found footage horror movies. I'm supposed to sort of buy into this, right? Well, I certainly can't do that with actors like Rick Gonzalaz of "Pulse" and "War of the Worlds" present, now can I? It's a simple mistake and the filmmaker somehow overblows it. What's really sad is that this generic piece of trash was written by Rodrigo Cortez, whose "Buried" was an incredibly tight little minimalist thriller that did a lot with so little. "Apartment 143" sees him sticking to a similar storytelling technique and somehow failing miserably due to the lack of desire in the fields of characters or originality. Like most found footage horror flicks, this one has no ambition. The best idea in the whole thing is a machine used by the team that, for whatever reason, ends up being blurred out on-video. But believe me when I say it's important. This film isn't.
The found footage gimmick has been the rising thing when it comes to filmmaking. I mean, it gets utilized in horror a lot, but even cop dramas, sci-fi fantasies and even some party movie had been adapted to what can be called as ‘found footage’ with the use of the first person “documentary” style cinematography. I guess it is an easy way to bring people to theater seats. Well, Rodrigo Cortes, fresh from his directorial semi-success “Buried” … more
Star Rating: Apartment 143 is essentially a cross between Paranormal Activity and, assuming I’m interpreting it correctly, An American Haunting. On the one hand, it’s a standard, technically competent found-footage mockumentary that delivers plenty of tension and some genuinely good scares. On the other hand, its plot is needlessly confusing and ultimately provides a baffling resolution that raises more questions than it answers. When it comes to … more
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more