Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Apartment 143 (2011)

Apartment 143 (Spain, 2011) - Color, Director(s): Carles Torrens
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 15]
Approx. 80 min.

Z-rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 2 stars out of 5

This found footage horror movie is in the same vein as the Paranormal Activity franchise and reminds me a lot of the fourth film in particular. A group of paranormal investigators are invited to an apartment where a family has been experiencing "strange occurrences". What sets this movie apart from the Paranormal franchise though is that you aren't forced to sit through somebody's home movies for 20-30 minutes before a pan falls in the kitchen by itself. The characters are introduced within the first 2 minutes of the film and by the 10 minute mark, we've already had our first paranormal occurrence. Another thing that I really like about this movie is that they are professional paranormal investigators with the proper knowledge and equipment to document what is happening in the apartment. Unlike Paranormal Activity, where an amateur home video artist ghetto-rigged his camera onto an oscillating fan with duct tape, so he could get it to pan left and right. These guys actually knew what they were doing!

Filming little girls in bed, apparently...

All that we're told is that a single father (widower, I guess?) has moved to this apartment with his two kids after the death of the mother. We can easily see that the father's relationship with the daughter is broken and it's implied that the father may have done something to have caused these strange occurrences. The daughter is a bit shut off from the outsiders (teenagers!) but her little brother is much more outgoing, even following the investigators around as they take pictures and set up their equipment. (I love that the female investigator makes a Zelda reference when explaining things to the little boy!)

"I'll swallow your soul!"

Although we eventually see that she's just a victim in this situation, the daughter goes into full-on possessed mode and implies that the father has done something to her directly. The truth unfolds as the movie continues, so it's interesting to piece together clues to what's actually happening in this apartment. The daughter, played by Gia Mantegna, is kind of a bitch the first time we see her. Interesting tidbit, she's the daughter of Joe Mantegna who was filming The Godfather Part III when she was born. He's also in the Criminal Minds television series.

This is my "bitch" face

Nudity: None. Although, this is what reminded me the most of Paranormal Activity 4, the scenes where we're watching the daughter sleep are kind of creepy and not in a good way. Even though Gia Mantegna was around 21 when filming this movie, you can't help but feel like a total creeper when watching her through cameras and stuff.

What exactly are we looking at here?

Gore: None. I think people get scratches from being tossed around the room but no one is actually killed. This movie goes more for atmosphere than splatter effects. Didn't the girl from Paranormal 4 do this same pose?

I think this is called the "Upward Bow", right?

Awesome: Pretty awesome! This movie doesn't get many positive reviews, saying that it's clich├ęd and derivative of the Paranormal franchise. I actually enjoyed this one more than the Paranormal movies. I liked that they didn't waste any of our time by showing us a bunch of home movies crap at the beginning and I really like that they have a team of professional investigators "documenting" this. These kinds of movies are always more interesting when there's an actual explanation for what's going on. That's why Ghostbusters was so awesome! Also, they eventually had to bring in a professional in Poltergeist because no one in the family could explain what was happening. If you're in the mood for something like Paranormal Activity (but better!) check this one out for your Halloween party!