September 13, 2012

Apartment 143 (2011)

"A team of parapsychologists try to figure out a strange phenomenon occurring in an apartment building."

Since I'm in request mode this week, I decided to watch "Apartment 143" so that I could reply to someone who asked about it in a Facebook group that I belong to. As with most faux found footage movies, I pretty much hated its lack of originality immediately, and it really didn't get any better for me as the story progressed.

If you imagine a found footage version of "The Haunting" (1963), but change the location to someone's boring and sparsely furnished American apartment, you have the setting for this absolute turd of a movie. Then just downgrade the number of paranormal researchers to three and make them completely unlikeable and you almost have this film in its entirety minus, of course, the equally unlikeable family of three whose haunting was being investigated.

From just reading through the titles of a lot of blog posts rather than skimming the reviews themselves, I've noticed that a lot of reviewers have compared "Apartment 143" to the "Paranormal Activity" series. For me, it was more like an even cheaper ripoff of "Ghostwatch" (1992) but without the TV show background. In fact, that's the problem with "Apartment 143". It was like so many other movies in the same subgenre that it was more noticeable for what it lacked than for what it tried to add. As someone put it on another blog, "it had way too much of nothing going on".

Everything about "Apartment 143" was predictable including the two good effects and the lame twist at the end. I honestly sat here timing the final jump scare and it was almost exactly to the second the same as the long pause before the voting results on the "X Factor". For those of you who are unfamiliar with that annoyance, basically, my expectations had already peaked and turned to boredom before the punchline was delivered.

I suppose they tried to make this into more of a poltergeist movie than a real haunting with the clich├ęd scientific explanation which was delivered by the professor character in one go rather than let the shocking revelation build-up naturally from the story itself. I very nearly fell for it though and started to think that it was kind of neat to actually have a poltergeist story since even Steven Spielberg didn't manage to do that properly. Unfortunately, they just had to go and ruin it all with even more heavy-handedness.

As the camerawork was nearly all done with handheld shakycams, I had to give it 0 out 10 for that element. Call me old-fashioned, but I do actually like to see what is happening on screen without wanting to vomit up my dinner. There was even a scene with a strobe light effect which really hurt my eyes and would probably cause an epileptic seizure for anyone susceptible to such things.

The ten minutes of screaming and destruction which happened twenty minutes from the end was so loud that it hurt my delicate little ears, and forced me to turn the volume right down. I probably should have kept the sound off and left "Apartment 143" at that point because the rest of the movie wasn't much more than a badly tacked-on epilogue anyway.

Guess where "Apartment 143" is going? That's right, it's another one for "The Dungeon". There was nothing in this which hadn't been done better at least fifty times before.

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