Horrortoberfest 2014: Day 18 – Apartment 143 (2011)

apartment 143 poster

Today’s spooky house is actually an apartment. Probably because they couldn’t afford a real house. Thanks, Obama. When the movie started and I realized it was going to be “found footage” style, I was already kind of turned off. It’s such a hard thing to do well but such an easy thing to do technically. I was also amused to find out that the story was about a widower and his two children just like Barricade. At least this time the haunting ends up being slightly more literal than figurative. Probably. It’s kind of complicated. And boring.

This time around we follow a team of paranormal investigators that are asked to help with a family’s ghost problem. These aren’t your typical SyFy channel Ghost Hunters, though. No, those people might have a modicum of charisma or personality. Instead we have a mildly fun tech guy, an assistant that’s most interesting thing is her accent, and a totally bland, monotone doctor of parapsychology. Together, they place cameras around immediately suck any tension from scenes that might otherwise be somewhat scary. They pretty much treat ghost busting like a plumber treats a clogged shitter; boredom from the routineness but still a bit cautious just in case something goes wrong.

You can’t really even try to get connected with the family. For one, none of them are developed until about an hour into the hour and fifteen minute movie. For another, none of the them are particularly likable outside of the 4 year old son but that’s mostly just because he runs around being a precocious 4 year old. Even then, he is gone for the entire last act of the film. At least we get some information and action in the last act. You probably could have done some small addition and some editing and just made the last 20 minutes of the film the entire thing and it would have been a pretty decent short movie. As it is, you have an hour of film where it does its level best to be Paranormal Activity but without any of the suspense.

There is a scene towards the middle of the film where they are going to try to throw science at the ghost by filming in light flashes. It goes on for way too long, panning back and forth across the room. You know that at some point something scary is going to jump out but it ends up being so long and the flashes just become annoying/painful to look at that by the time we do get a jump scare you’re just glad that it’s done with. Then immediately after instead of having some sort of rising tension or reaction, we are back to the investigators calmly going about their business and talking about what the reading could possibly mean. Even the family is just like, “Well that was sure spooky. Anyway, time to go about my daily life. Doot doot doo.”

I give the movie a 2 out of 5 for being a giant boring mess that gets to the actual point way too late in the film.

Favorite thing about the movie: The opening scene were we get the only indication that anyone on the investigation team has a personality.

Least favorite thing: The double ultra fake out that is the explanation for what is happening.

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