October 13, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Apartment 143'

Apartment 143 (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Apartment 143 will, no doubt, fall into the category of being a found footage movie, and as with any other ‘trend’ of horror flick it will have its fans and detractors purely on whether the viewer likes said sub-genre. That’s fair enough, although Apartment 143 (Emergo) is not a found footage film; there’s no evidence here in the movie that tells us the footage shot was ‘found’, because it wasn’t lost in the first place. Yes, it is shot from the point of view of security cameras and hand-held cameras, but found footage it is not.

So, with that in mind, I will continue by saying that I do like this style of movie, I like the feeling of being in the heart of the action, of which the hand-held camera style can be so effective in achieving, and the security camera views add to that real sense of voyeurism that we all are guilty of enjoying. Hell, just about everything on TV at the moment is about watching people in their everyday life. Love it or hate it, we are voyeurs and there’s no escaping it.

Apartment 143 is a film where we get thrown into the midst of what might, or might not, be some strange supernatural shenanigans. Alan White, along with his son and daughter, has moved to an apartment following the death of his wife, and subsequent strange occurrences in their previous house. His thinking is that if they move they can get away from whatever it is that is harassing them. Well, it’s not that easy is it? The ghostly phenomena that they are so eager to escape has, followed them to their new apartment.

Seemingly at his wits end, Alan calls in a paranormal investigation team to try and get to the bottom of it all, and this is where the fun and games really begins.

Apartment 143 plays very much as a mix of Paranormal Activity, Insidious and Poltergeist, all thrown in the blender and then poured out into a fun little independent movie. Hell, I really enjoyed the movie! Sure, there are elements taken from the movies that I mentioned, but so what? Does that mean I can’t enjoy the movie? Hell no, sunshine!

The film doesn’t bother too much with a slow build-up to the action either, instead it fairly leaps in, and only takes a breather once in a while to make room for dialogue that serves mainly to fill us in on a bit more of the White’s family history, as well as a little psycho-babble. Even though the action is fairly non-stop, with regards to the mysterious events, director Carles Torrens still manages to squeeze in a good dose of tension and atmosphere to proceedings. This coupled with a terrific sound design (this is one loud movie!) and some generally decent acting, you get yourself a cool little movie.

There are times where the dialogue gets a little on the annoying side; with the lead investigator seemingly turning into a psychiatrist. I was half waiting for him to pull out a couch and then ask Alan to ‘tell me about your childhood’. Of course, that doesn’t happen, but it gets worryingly close to it at times. Also, why would the apartment be on the top floor of an apartment block? The 100’s are generally on the first floor, with the numbers increasing the higher you get? An oversight I imagine, and the film was written as Emergo, with Apartment 143 being the English language title. Apartment 143 is actually a Spanish movie, albeit one set in the States with a mainly English language speaking cast.

Effects-wise Apartment 143 does deliver the goods, with some scenes being incredibly effective, and the sound design, which I previously mentioned, being absolutely cracking.

Apartment 143 probably isn’t going to win over those that don’t like this style of film, as it doesn’t offer too much in the way of new ideas to a slowly increasing sub-genre, but there is a cool film in here. When I review a film I try to gauge it on how much I enjoyed it, as well as whether or not it is ‘good’ or not. Apartment 143 definitely entertained me, and I can’t ask for more than that. Director Carles Torrens definitely has a bright future ahead of him, and whilst Apartment 143 might have its fair share of flaws it still manages to throw in the surprises, even when you think you know what is going to happen next.

Apartment 143 is released on DVD in the UK on October 15th by Momentum Pictures. You can  also read my interview with director Carles Torrens here.

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