Apartment 143 (2012)

Apartment 143 is creepy, disturbing, well-made, brilliantly acted and bloody terrifying. Unfortunately it’s also overblown, occasionally boring and utterly ridiculous in places.

Alan White (Kai Lennox) is having a bad year. His wife died in a car crash and then his house suddenly became haunted, possibly by his wife. Disturbed by the weird happenings, he takes his two children and moves them into apartment 143 in a dilapidated old apartment block… where the bizarre occurrences continue to plague them.

Horrified that these phenomena might follow his family everywhere, he invites a team of paranormal investigators – led by Dr. Helzer (Michael O’Keefe) – to determine the course of this ‘haunting’.

This is told in retrospect as Apartment 143 is actually a found footage film.

Still here? Yes, so the set-up isn’t exactly unique – Gorepress have seen countless found footage paranormal investigation films in the past year (Grave Encounters, Episode 50, The Lost Coast Tapes, The Paranormal Incident, to name a few) – so I wandered into Apartment 143 with a long, wearied sigh. Another one? For fuck’s sake…

However, Apartment 143 is a tight, claustrophobic character-piece, with some serious attention paid to back stories and a long, creepy build up. Some sections are genuinely very frightening and it plays a decent anticipation game, akin to Parnormal Activity, where you’re just waiting for something horrible to happen… and it jangles the nerves.

Unfortunately the plotting is a little scattershot, with blasts of furious paranormal anger followed by some quiet chatting on a stairwell, then more craziness, then a psychic arrives, then some equipment is setup, then more mad-crap happens etc… As the initial, terrifying build-up it sadly peters out and becomes confused and confusing.

Apartment 143 comes from the writer of Red Lights, which also suffered from a wonky plot that spiralled out-of-control towards the end. Rodrigo Cortés clearly needs a lesson in “less is more” because when Apartment 143 is being subtle it’s awesome, but when it’s not it is overblown and ludicrous.

Partially the fault of director Carles Torrens, Apartment 143 features some white-eyed possession clichés, ridiculously obvious ghosts and a regrettable final-shot that was both unneeded and obvious.

Luckily the acting in Apartment 143 is excellent throughout, with some stunning performances from Kai Lennox, Gia Mantegna and Michael O’Keefe. Lennox especially shines as the exhausted Alan White, who is raw and believable throughout. His revealing speech towards the end is both gutting and brilliant.

Overall Apartment 143 is a surprisingly enjoyable found footage film that works better as a great character-piece than as an actual horror film. Not fantastically original, Apartment 143 is very scary in places but also ludicrous and brash. Worth a watch, alone and with the lights out.

Rating: ★★★★★½☆☆☆☆

2 Comments on “Apartment 143”

  1. Rawrsetta says:

    “a regrettable final-shot that was both unneeded and obvious.” i’m sorry, did I just hear someone say Paranormal Activity?

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