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Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Apartment 143' (2011)

A Lazy Movie with a Forgettable Ending

*Sigh*

You know what's wrong with shaky camera movies? They're lazy. They're trying to make up for a lack of real atmosphere with shitty video and cheap action shots by waving the camera around. It didn't work with The Taking of Deborah Logan, it didn't work with Paranormal Activity, it didn't even work here. It's just bad filming, not a real use of the medium.

It's okay when there are elements of shaky camera, or when shaky camera is a small part of the atmosphere. But it's not okay when jiggling the camera like an epileptic is your only atmosphere.

Look, I get it, you're on a low budget, you've got few options, but Jesus, man. At least try to create your own atmosphere. It's not even an FX problem I'm complaining about here. I can see using shaky camera to mask a shitty FX budget. You can't always make budget rubber monsters and ghosts look good. But if you don’t even have those things, you can’t expect the shaky camera effect to make any difference. Try lighting, try camera filters. TRY A FUCKING FOG MACHINE FOR CHRIST SAKE!

SPOILERS!!!

You know what I'm also tired of? Paranormal investigation units in movies that try to tie science into the movie. Look, it's a movie, it's okay to have creepy scary monster nonsense. I don't need an expose on the science of paranormal activity to tie it all to reality. You can give me ghosts and you can give me demons. I'm cool with it and likely so are test audiences. Shit, they went to Paranormal Activity and that was just a wash of demonology bullshit.

But instead, they tried to go for the "credible scientific" route, which is always failure in the making. Especially when they dragged in this really poorly acted psychic medium. This guy actually yells and makes groaning noises. I nearly shut the movie off at that point. Not sure how I made it past that scene... I think I was just laughing too hard to hit the clicker. It was awful.

So yeah, apparently there's no ghosts, just a young girl going through some difficulties with the loss of her mother while manifesting psychic outrage abilities. And not well-acted either... there was this one scene where she throws up into her bowl of cereal after "being possessed" and can't help, but accidentally smiles at the camera as she's being taken out of the scene. I can't say as I blame her. Hard to be professional in this rubbish. But hey, they kept the shot so it's not really her fault anyway.

My problem with this is basing the whole plot on the actual theory that poltergeists aren't really ghosts, but actually young people going through puberty with latent psychic ability. This is a real theory with paranormal investigation communities and I'm not sure this theory was ready even for something that was direct to video. It really just doesn't hold up as a plot device. I'd frankly prefer ghosts and demons over some psychic tween getting her first period. Seriously.

There was some pretty interesting drama about how the wife died, that she was schizophrenic, the daughter is likely schizo too, and how the wife had stopped taking her meds and had become a real horror to live with, but... it’s all just so fleeting and secondhand. While it's tied directly to the plot, it seems almost like it really doesn't have anything to do with the plot. And it's not like they don't explain the tie in (the mother's death being what sets off the daughter). The ending is just like, "Well, that was fun wasn't it," and ends the movie with no real resolution. Nothing was exactly fixed or discovered, they just end the movie. Kinda like they ran out of time while filming it or something. God, I hope they aren't intending to try for a sequel.

Yeah, not much to see here, move along.

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Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'Apartment 143' (2011)
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