A team of parapsychologists try to figure out a strange phenomena occurring in an apartment building.
I’m pretty much done with the found footage films that have been pouring out of the waterworks since “Paranormal Activity” hit it big. I liked “PA” but I have yet to see the sequels and am really in no hurry to see them. They aren’t the only ones, there are so many to name that you should know the ones I am talking about. I never really flipped out over any of them. In fact, I have pretty much avoided them all with the exception of “The Last Exorcism” (that one I actually like). Just like everything else, I’m getting the feeling that the found footage subgenre is nearing the beginning of the end. “Apartment 143” is a perfect example of where things are heading. It wasn’t a bad movie, it just didn’t really have anything new to say and felt rather predictable. The cast is strong and there are a few moments that may make you jump but in the end we’ve seen it all before.
A trio of parapsychologists led by Dr. Helzer (“Caddyshack” alumni Michael O’Keefe) are recruited by single father Alan White (Kai Lennox) to investigate the weird happenings that are surrounding him and his two children, Benny (Damian Roman) and Caitlin (Gia Mantegna, daughter of the great Joe Mantegna). Dr. Helzer is accompanied by Ellen (Fiona Glascott) and Paul (Rick Gonzalez of the canceled prematurely CW series “Reaper”), who have top of the line technology that they are installing into the apartment to cover as much of it as possible so that they miss nothing. They first begin to witness the little things like footsteps or the doorbell ringing when nobody is there. Along with the supernatural happenings, we learn about the strained relationship between Alan and Caitlin. Not only does the tension grow between them, the horror within the apartment begins to escalate until the shocking truth is revealed.
“Apartment 143” makes the mistake of being too “by the numbers”. You can pretty much predict every beat the film makes. The film doesn’t offer up many surprises, we can just tell when something happens. Let me see here, spooky noises? Check. Doors closing on their own? Check. Furniture moving? Check. Creepy ghost girl? You guessed it, another check. It is all executed rather well, it’s just REALLY predictable. I had pretty high hopes for the film since it was written by “Buried” director Rodrigo Cortes. That film was WAY better than it should have been and incredibly suspenseful. Here, directing duties went to Carles Torrens, who does a fine job working within the confines of the script.
The cast does a terrific job selling the material, it was just that the characters really weren’t that relatable. The only character we get to really know is Alan and even then he just talks, interview style, into the camera. There is far too much talking and not enough jolts. I will admit that I enjoyed seeing Rick Gonzalez in the film. I was a huge fan of his work on “Reaper” and nice to see that he is still keeping busy. The film takes far too long to get rolling, even if the end does deliver a few really well staged and executed fright scenes.
I liked “Apartment 143” even though it didn’t offer up anything out of the ordinary. It’s a perfect movie for a casual date night, unless of course you are a hardcore horror fan. You may find a few things to enjoy but you will notice right away that you have seen it all before. The found footage genre needs to take a rest for another decade. Then maybe when it’s time for it to be resurrected there will be some fresh ideas that will scare the sh*t out of us. As it stands right now, it has begun to overstay its welcome. Not a waste of time by any means, but I can only manage to give “Apartment 143” **1/2 (out of 5).
Apartment 143 (2011)