Friday, October 3, 2014

Film Review: Apartment 143 (aka Emergo) (2011)

Apartment 143 (aka Emergo) (Review)
Spain/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Streaming
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...one of the rare found-footage films where things actually happen..."

Alan White (Kai Lennox), a widower, his daughter Caitlin (Gia Mantegna) and son are haunted by an unknown entity in their apartment...

Apartment 143 begins as a parapsychology team arrives at the apartment and sets up their ghost-capturing equipment. The story wastes no time as the haunting begins right off the bat. The team explain the equipment to the family, particularly the very curious son, and we see it in action as odd things occur. Phones ringing, knocking on the door, doors closing on their own, sounds of chaos without any physical evidence, and so on. The investigation is interesting, but the story doesn't really start digging into the source of the haunting until the third act. The reasoning is interesting, but the ending felt abrupt; the unnecessary jump-scare also made the ending a bit cheesy.

First and foremost, Apartment 143 is a found-footage horror film where, you won't believe it, THINGS ACTUALLY HAPPEN! Now it's not glorious or original, but something is always happening in the film. It doesn't have an hour of useless "character development" like Absence or fabricated suspense like Paranormal Activity 4. No, instead, Apartment 143 aims to entertain with a fast pace, some decent suspense, a barrage of jump-scares, and a slightly insightful story; the found-footage style doesn't negatively affect the film, either. And, it succeeds in many ways; I was entertained for the entire compact runtime.

However, not all is great. The story reeks of been-there-done-that, so don't expect much innovation. Sometimes the suspense would dwindle before the climax because of the prolonged wait. A few of the jump-scares fell flat. Also, this is one of the few found-footage with sound effects accompanying the jump-scare, which make them less natural and destroy the facade. Furthermore, this film will make you wish you never have to experience raising a teenage daughter. Caitlin is one of the most unbearable characters in any horror movie.

Kai Lennox is good as the Alan White. Although her character sucked, Gia Mantegna was great in the role. The rest of the cast was also very solid. Fortunately, the found-footage style is a bit more controlled this time around; the shaky cam is almost nonexistent, which is always a good thing. The music is also decent, creating an ominous vibe but also taking the film out of the "realistic" zone -- as in, you won't believe this is a real event like many found-footage film put on. Generally, the film is very procedural on the technical side which is probably a good thing. Director Carles Torrens plays it safe, but aims to entertain and succeeds.

Overall, Apartment 143 is a good found-footage horror film. It's one of the rare found-footage films where things actually happen, which is a good thing. It doesn't try to be much, it doesn't even bother to innovate, but at least it succeeds in entertaining and killing time.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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