Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Movie Appraisal: Apartment 143 (Emergo) (2012) (2011?)

Apartment 143 (also called Emergo in its native Spain) is a "horror" movie with "ghosts." It's an English language film despite being made in Spain. Its Spanish director, Carles Torrens, made his feature film directorial debut with this movie as well. Starring some pretty solid actors, it is a movie. It probably happens to be about ghosts. Maybe? I don't even know. Sorry for being lackluster about this film, but it seriously is about as mediocre as a horror movie can be. It doesn't do anything new or interesting or, most importantly, scary. It is a horror movie without a bite, a ghost film without a real ghost, a found footage film without any real footage that is found. I mean, seriously, it feels like this film goes by without anything ever happening. That's insane and the biggest problem a horror film could possibly have. It doesn't matter how well acted the characters are or how good the effects look or even how well-directed the movie is. It matters that the plot is boring and the movie is utterly not scary.


I guess we could call this a rip-off of Paranormal Activity and ghost hunter type shows on TV. It's fitting that I can only see those things when watching this film. Fitting indeed. While not a terrible movie by any stretch, Apartment 143 is not what I was expecting. It is neither scary nor does it ever really seem to try. While the acting throughout is very solid, and the direction isn't half bad, the movie suffers from a lack of absolute coherence. The pacing is simply bad. I can't say anything but that. Yes, there is a lead-up to a climax, but it is so spottily done- much like Paranormal Activity, but without that movie's build-up to something. The ambiguity is used as a crutch rather than an featured element. I didn't mind this film as I watched it, but as soon as it was done, I started forgetting everything about it. It's simply generic. It doesn't take chances. It doesn't try to frighten. It just kind of exists in space as a movie that could be horror if it cared enough to be.

Yes, the acting is solid. Honestly this is the part of the movie I liked best. Special mentions go out to Rick Gonzalez, Kai Lennox, and Michael O'Keefe, who, I felt, all turned in brilliant performances. Their dialogue was strong, their characters very well put together, and their situations compelling. The rest of the cast isn't half bad themselves, but these are the real standouts to me. Each had a moment in the film that left me nodding my head.

Do I even have to mention the plot? Seriously?

You already know it.

It's not as if you couldn't guess it.


Fine. I will. Begrudgingly.

Family thinks there are ghosts in the titular apartment. Investigators come. Things happen. No ghosts in the apartment. Teenage girl is schizophrenic and a poltergeist somehow, maybe. Not really. Since there is a bit of a stinger that completely shoots that down. Probably. Ugh. The dad is accused of molesting his daughter, but he probably didn't because he's a good dad. And the daughter is nasty and a little crazy mean herself. Obviously she's supposed to take after the less-than-perfect mother, who was a bad woman.

Some movies can do ambiguity well. This one is not a movie like that. The ambiguity just makes it confusing and annoying. The ending made me sigh. Hell, the movie was so predictable I was finding it difficult to keep interested in it. I was more bored than anything else. The dialogue and acting helped it not be the bottom of the barrel, but even they couldn't make the plot better.

I'll talk theories quickly. Yes, this movie probably has a ghost-thing in it. The doctor or parapsychologist, or whatever he is, is more than likely wrong or slightly off in his theory. The mother is probably evilly haunting the family and possessing the daughter since she has been established as being evil.


And that's that. I wish the movie would have been scarier, would have been more interesting, would have taken more risks, and would have had a better payoff. But it didn't. I found it lackluster and, in turn, I have no real energy to review it.

The direction was weird, with long periods focused on the same thing. I mean, there is only so long I can stare at a wall and not get bored of said wall. One scene with flashing lights made me not actually want to watch the movie anymore. I mean, seriously, it was so awful I didn't even watch the screen. I knew what would happen, and the flashing lights were making me feel sick.

Anyway, this is a highly mediocre film. It has no real relevance and does nothing different to make it stand apart from other, better films. It is so utterly standard and generic that it literally melds into the background, making it just another ripoff of Paranormal Activity, but not as good. I remember so little about the film, but every time I think about it I become slightly angrier thinking that with the strong acting and dialogue it could have actually been something new and interesting. Instead it was a bit of a waste. And the worst part is that I have so little to say about it because it is so mediocre. I would rather complain than say nothing at all, but that's what I have. This movie is so uninteresting that I have literally nothing to say about it.

Don't watch it. While it ha a few good moments, this film is nothing special. It's not memorable. It doesn't wow. And it doesn't frighten. It's just another movie. One that should be avoided.

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