Oh good. Found footage.
Apartment 143 opens with a healthy dose of sexism, so my initial thoughts weren’t too high. Coupled with the fact that this is a found footage film makes me squeamish. I know, I know I shouldn’t automatically judge found footage, but it is hard not to. The genre once had promise, but now it is a simple way to cut corners for budgetary reasons. I mean, why in the world would people be carrying around a camera all of the time? It is just dumb anymore. So, does Apartment 143 deliver or is it another wasted opportunity? Read on.
Okay, before I start reviewing the movie I need to get another rant out of the way. Horror films have to operate on faulty logic to a certain extent. How or why the hauntings are occurring is often something that isn’t discussed enough (or, oddly, too much). This movie actually subverts one of the major weaknesses in horror narrative. A problem with any haunted house is that the question why don’t you leave is hard to ignore. Well, this family did move, and the hauntings followed. This is a subtle move that makes the film better.
The film pretty much immediately has a couple more things than just found footage going against it. First, the film is ugly. Having poor quality aids in making this feel like a documentary but it also looks like crap. So, win-lose? I am watching this on a computer so the grainy quality is a bit much. Second, the characters are terrible. The character Paul is insufferable, as is the teenage daughter. Everyone else does fine, but these two characters drag everyone else down. Paul (played by Rick Gonzalez) acts well, but his character is a pain. Caitlin (played by Gia Mantegna) is pretty insufferable. I get that they are going for the whole teenage angst crap, but if your house is haunted you might let the paranormal investigators into the room.
One thing that I can praise this film for is that it does not waste a lot of time getting to the jump scares. A huge problem with many found footage films is that we have to go through a ton of pointless exposition before we get what we want to see. Further, the film adds a lot with the scientific discussions (hard to say how much of it is accurate). I enjoyed the candidness of the conversations thoroughly.
The film takes itself seriously, which is nice. The story is a bit predictable, but it is told in a way that is entertaining enough. They end it on a ridiculous note and then close with a dumb jump scare that seems to undo the third act. Overall, I liked it. Despite the limitations of the genre, it was a fun film. 5/10