DVD Review: Apartment 143
Review by Stephanie Scaife
Apartment 143 is an exercise in tedium if ever there was one, and a fine example to back up Keri’s recent editorial detailing exactly why we’re all so fed up of found footage movies and why they should be wholeheartedly discouraged, if not wiped out entirely from the horror genre. Apartment 143 is the first feature from young Spanish filmmaker Carles Torrens and it is written by Rodrigo Cortés (Buried, Red Lights). It is also so painfully generic and so forgettable that even a day after watching it I’m struggling to recall the details of the plot (what there is of one).
We’re introduced to a team of parapsychologists led by Dr. Helzer (Michael O’Keefe) who go to investigate the home of the White family, which has been plagued by paranormal goings on. Alan White (Kai Lennox) and his two children, Benny (Damian Roman) and surly teenage daughter Caitlin (Gia Mantega) have only just moved into Apartment 143 after being forced out of their family home due to various bad things happening; unexplained drops in temperature, phones ringing, objects flying around etc etc. However, bad luck for the White family because whatever it was terrorising them seems to have followed them into their new home. Flanked by Ellen (Fiona Glascott) and Paul (Rick Gonzalez), Dr. Helzer goes through every trick in the haunted house manual before the final big reveal at the end, which of course includes an oddball psychic (Francesc Garrido) and lots of scenes that try to scare you by using the following structure; quiet, quiet, quiet, LOUD NOISE, FLASHING LIGHT, quiet, quiet… you know the drill.
The biggest issue I had with Apartment 143 was just how dull it was. The characters all talk about every possible explanation for the paranormal events as well as all of their fancy ghost hunting equipment at great and tedious length, and for something that is supposedly “real life” caught on camera, there sure is a lot of exposition, not to mention a creepy soundtrack that I can only assume must have been orchestrated by our ghost. They do at least mix up some of the shots with handheld camera, traditional talking heads, surveillance footage and the like in a bid to try and stop the film from lagging, but even at a brisk 75 minute running time, I still found myself staring at the ceiling and checking my emails intermittently. Never a good sign, especially when the film in question is supposed to be scary.
Anyway, not only have I never been a fan of the found footage genre (with the exception of perhaps Chronicle and Troll Hunter) but Apartment 143 is also a particularly bad entry into this already overstuffed canon. It is unoriginal, predictable and not in the least bit frightening. There is very little to recommend about this film at all, except perhaps the acting which is pretty decent considering what they had to work with. Avoid at all costs.
Apartment 143 is available now on Blu-ray and DVD, from Momentum.