Featured DVD / Blu-ray Review: Apartment 143
Apartment 143 is a horror film that opened in limited release. If you pay attention to limited releases, you should know how poorly that genre tends to do in limited release, but even so, this film missed expectations. Is it as bad as its box office numbers? Or is it just a case of the wrong genre? Or perhaps Found Footage is just overdone?
The film begins with us being introduced to a team of paranormal investigators: Paul Ortega, the technician; Ellen Keegan, the "gatekeeper"; and Dr. Helzer, the boss. They've been called to the White's apartment. Alan White recently lost his wife in a violent car crash and he and his two kids, Caitlin and Benny haven't taken it too well, especially his teenage daughter. Their old apartment had some paranormal activity, which is why they moved. However, their new apartment had the same problems, which is why Alan called in professionals.
The paranormal investigators get right down to business installing cameras, microphones, thermal sensors, etc. It isn't long before the investigators record activity. After some interviews with the family, the two that are willing to participate anyway, the investigation continues. And continues. Finally they decide that perhaps their science isn't enough and they need to call in Heseltime, a psychic.
I mentioned in my review for Paranormal Activity 3 that the familiarity has really hurt that franchise. The same thing is true here. This film has an overwhelming sense of familiarity. The focus on the science helps set it apart a little bit from Paranormal Activity or The Last Exorcism, as does the more detailed family background information that we get into later on. But that's not enough to truly stand out. It is also quite a short movie, but there are still not enough truly scary moments, or even enough suspense, to sustain its running time. Perhaps I've just seen too many films in the Found Footage / Hauntings categories, but this one did not draw me in at all.
Extras begin with a 16-minute making of featurette, while there are nearly half a dozen other, shorter, behind-the-scenes featurettes that focus on the usual making of areas, including special effects, set design, cast interviews, etc. There is also a more in-depth interview with the director, Carles Torrens. Finally, there's the usual HDNet promotional piece. That's not a bad amount of extras for a limited release.
I don't have the Blu-ray to compare, but there's little hope that the video is great; after all, it is made to look like it was filmed by the characters with rather inexpensive cameras. The Blu-ray does only cost 33% more, so that's not a bad deal.
If you really love Found Footage films and want to see one that handles Paranormal Investigation in a more scientific way, then Apartment 143 is not bad. On the other hand, if you are growing tired of the genre, then the film does nothing to really breathe life into the genre. The DVD and the Blu-ray have better than expected extras, so if you liked the movie, it is worth picking up.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2012-10-06