Stars: Kai Lennox, Gia Mantegna, Rick Gonzalez, Fiona Glascott and Michael O’Keefe
Directed: Carles Torrens
Running Time: 80mins approx.
Also known as Emergo in some countries and made in Mexico.
Ah the live footage genre something that has been steadily growing over the past few years, though it harkens way back when the brilliant Blair Witch Project pretty much introduced us to it in 1999.Scaring so many viewers with the snot and the shaky cam, they were the days.
Apartment 143 however follows the more recent and growing in popularity paranormal found footage genre. This film though does not have the budget of those big screen films, I’ll get to that a little later though.
This movie see’s short/made for TV film maker Carles Torrens debut as a director who does a commendable job of putting Rodrigo Cortés script which isn’t the best one he’s ever written into some semblance of a film. As he also wrote the brilliant and disturbing buried with Ryan Reynolds.
I went into this movie pretty much blind not reading up on it other than if you liked the paranormal genre you would like this. The actors are a bunch of pretty much unknowns. Rick Gonzalez from Reaper (who played Ben Gonzalez in there) was a nice surprise.Fiona has been in some TV stuff as far as I know too.
Pretty much everyone else has had small to bit parts in movies or TV series episodes.
We are introduced to 3 parapsychologists.
They have been called to an apartment where an out of work widowed guy is experiencing supernatural phenomena.
To be honest the writing is quite nice at this point here especially between Gonzalez and Fiona.
Their scenes do seem to flow quite well and they bounce the banter ball back and forth professionally, whether this is just because they act well together or that part was both well written and directed it just seems to work there.
In the guy’s apartment (Yes 143) they set up all the usual equipment Cameras EMF meters motion sensors you know tools of trade.
In paranormal activity you have to wait a good portion of the films for things to build up you get started with sounds off screen doors open ajar slightly. In here you don’t have to wait more than ten minutes for the first thing to happen.This draws me to my biggest problem in this film the team have hardly no backstory so we don’t know where they have come from or what their expertise is, we are just supposed to accept it that they know.
Now I’m pretty much convinced no real life footage or anything 100% confirming ghosts, poltergeists or any other activity has ever been found. So when this team encounter REAL stuff even for the first time and just accept it with a laugh or prod each other playfully to go check the weird shit out I was a little disappointed because I’m sure even if I was an expert I would shit a brick.
We find out he’s moved once as well, the entity has followed them apparently. The activity is mainly based around his children, a son and a daughter, quite specifically his daughter.
The daughter is your typical angst ridden teen. She has parental problems blaming her dad for anything and everything.
Another little gripe I have is you know a lot of actors say never work with kids or animals; yes you occasionally come across a Dakota Fanning or a Haley Joel Osment. This kid just comes across as retarded, quite possibly just a really bad child actor but he just has poor delivery, looks at the camera often and seems slow on his lines. Anyway the kid thinks the ghost is their dead mother.
With the whole no backstory, not scared about stuff team. The stereotypical single parent family you do find it a little hard to really get behind what they’re doing. Right onto the horror of it the actual scares are sub-par compared to paranormal activity. Weather this is because it’s in your face from the beginning desensitizing you, maybe it was just the horror veteran in me.I can’t find budget info on this movie anywhere but I’m guessing it wasn’t a super amount, now even though the scares aren’t great some of the effects are pretty good.
If you’ve seen those movies you’ll know what to expect Effects wise doors opening. Weird shadows setting off sensors. A bit of possession with good make up/effects and people thrown about for good measure. These all make for a nice little bonus to this film as we all know that at least halfway decent CGI costs a pretty penny.
The ending, surprise! it ends up being the grieving widowed father’s fault (to a certain degree at least) which I won’t spoil too much for you. This is all followed by the usual lost footage predictable ending.
I know I have slightly panned this film in certain areas. Here’s the actual lowdown it’s not as bad as some of the found footage film drivel that’s slowly being mass produced out there.Yes the writing is a little patchy at times thankfully the directing which is at least subpar remedies a lot of the down falls. What Torrens does with the script is commendable he makes it gel together as good as he can from what he has to work with. I would like to see how well he could handle a well written script and a good budget actually.
If you’re a fan of this genre you will probably like this film, maybe not enjoy it with gusto but it’ll be worth the watch. If not it might just be worth an hour and a half if you got nothing else lying around to watch/do.
A very decent two stars out of five