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Movie rating system (0-2) The movie is balls (2-4) A few moments but mostly bad (4-5.5) Entertaining film but lacking something to make it good. (6-7.5) A recommendation meaning a good solid watch. (8-10) must watch films, they are usually leaders in their respective genre. I can also be found on Facebook or follow my blog at the bottom of this page. THERE MAY BE MINI SPOILERS AHEAD!!! But there will be no endings/twists/cameos/or large plot reveals given.

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Monday, 25 March 2013

Apartment 143

Apartment 143
Rated: R
Running Time: 80 minutes
Starring: Rick Gonzalez, Fionna Glascott, Kai Lennox, Gia Mantegna, Michael O’Keefe
Directed By: Carles Torrens
Rating: 1.5 out of 10
A team of paranormal researches head out to a supposedly haunted building to investigate.

When the DVD cover art is the creepiest thing about a movie, you know you are in trouble. I will always defend the found footage style, as I am a big fan of the genre. I will not defend laziness though, and that is where we find ourselves with this film. Apartment 143 is the story of a small group of parapsychologists. They are investigating a building that has a history of paranormal activity. They are there to determine if the family that lives there is in any danger from the unexplained haunting.

This film is basically an episode of Ghost Hunters gone wild. We meet the small group of parapsychologists as they make their way to the affected building. After a quick setup, where one team member installs cameras and motion sensors all over the building, the film gets underway. Almost instantly, the viewer is treated to unexplained sounds coming from somewhere in the building. What can only be described as a race car driving around upstairs doesn’t really seem to faze the crew and that is puzzling. These types of films need that slow rise of built up suspense, so when the viewer is treated to unexplained happenings from the get go; it takes all the momentum out of the film. From there the film settles down into the generic pattern that these films usually take. Things move seemingly on their own volition, the cameras pick up unexplained images, and family members are accosted when they sleep. The films lack of budget is glaring and in its absence, the films story cannot make up for the weaker special effects. The one thing I really liked was that the crew was there to find scientific answers to what could be happening in the building. So instead of just saying there is a ghost, they try and debunk all the moving objects and eerie sounds. I also liked how the crew moves into the place and lives with the family as they go about their everyday lives. It shows some creativity on behalf of the writer to not just have the paranormal crew locked inside the building for the night.

I find found footage is a hard thing to judge acting wise. I was not put off by the performances but I was put off by the characters, namely the family. The paranormal investigators were a cohesive unit if not impressive. They talk about mundane things as they go about their work so I have no complaints there. The father is played by Kai Lennox and he is a man clearly hiding something. His pale complexion and depressed attitude just wear on the viewer. The daughter played by Gia Mantegna also has something wrong with her as she is a straight up B to her dad. Clearly she too is hiding something and it is also hard to sit through with her emo attitude. Instead of just having a stressed out family, living in a strange building, we have a family full of secrets that they aren’t even trying to hide.

As the film plays its self out, the viewer will notice many things wrong with it, but the most glaring is the lack of frights. Sure there is the odd moment where something pops out from the darkness, or a loud bang happens at an opportune moment, but nothing we haven’t seen before. Pots and pans that move, pictures that are turned upside down, and ghostly apparitions caught on camera will not raise the hair on the back of your neck. As the paranormal team pries deeper into the family’s history, and gathers more information with their mostly unexplained instruments, the viewer sits in anticipation for anything to happen and yet nothing really does. When the film comes to a sudden end (where the movie Poltergeist was clearly an influence) they don’t entirely explain what you just watched, leaving the viewer scratching their head. In conclusion, this movie tries to be different but doesn’t have the budget to make it work. The family is obnoxious, the story is way too complicated, the buildup is non-existent, the building itself isn’t scary, and the scares are mundane (sometimes unintentionally comical.) The positive is the story has a little twist to it and that a run time of only 80 minutes means it is not hard to sit through.

It is hard to judge director Carles Torrens effectively as this film has such a small budget. He seems to have the basics down and the camera work is okay if not good. There is just too much going on with this film to be truly appreciated. One moment there are odd sounds, the next moment a séance. Then there are ghostly apparitions, then a therapy session. All this flip flopping leaves the viewer tired and frankly uninterested in the cause of the buildings paranormal activity. I would watch another one of Torrens films if only to get a proper gauge of his techniques.

I cannot recommend this film as its lack of scares will have you hating this genre if you don’t already do.

T Factor + If you like low budget horror then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you do not like found footage movies then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Grave Encounters, REC

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