It took me a couple of days to sit down to write a review for the new to VOD release ‘Apartment 143.’ When this happens it usually means one of two things: either the movie was so fucked up that it took me a couple of days to wrap my rather simple brain around what I just saw, or, the film is so uninspired that it just really leaves me with no desire to sit down an invest the time in writing a halfway decent review. Unfortunately for ‘Apartment 143’ it’s the second scenario that’s in play here.
‘Apartment 143’ is essentially what you get when you combine ‘Poltergeist’ with found footage juggernaut franchise ‘Paranormal Activity. The White family has been under siege by some strange phenomenon since Alan Whites (Kai Lennox, ‘Boogie Nights’) wife died in a horrific car accident. His daughter, Caitlin (Gia Mantegna, Fat Tonys Daughter) holds him responsible for her death. His young son, Benny, claims that he’s talked to mommy since she’s dies. For his part, Alan moved the family out of their home and into a small apartment. Unfortunately the hauntings not only have continued but seem to have increased.
Enter out team of paranormal investigators. Dr. Hazer (Micheal O’Keefe) is the leader of his small group. He’s joined by Ellen (Fiona Glascott) and Paul (Rick Gonzalez, “Spanish” from ‘Old School’). Paul is the tech guy. Ellen is the chick he wants to bang. They enter the house set up their equipment and wait for the inevitable. Unlike ‘The Innkeepers’, ‘Apartment 143’ doesn’t waste time in starting with the jump scares. Doors begin to close, loud strange noises start, pictures change position, it’s typical ‘Paranormal Activity’ scare fare here.
Meanwhile there is a weird dynamic that’s developed between Alan and his daughter Caitlin. She not only blames him for her mothers death, but acts like a total disrespectful bitch most of the time towards her father. Dr. Hazer and his crew try to lend some support to Alan, who is at times not sure what is worse – dealing with a ghost or a sixteen year old daughter. He leans on the crew, eventually disclosing the entire story surrounding his wifes death. She was a crazy, lazy, slut apparently, who was chasing after Alan and the kids when she wrapped her car around a tree.
Everything comes to a head at a seance lead by the enigmatic Heseltine. While trying to communicate with the spirit, Caitlin becomes inhabited (?) by the ghost. The Caitlin/Ghost causes some havoc before leaving her body. Caitlin goes to sleep but is set upon by the spirit again. This time it lifts her up and spins her around. There is a ton of wind. Her father breaks into the room, he appears to rescue her.
The film works as a creepy little ghost story up until this point. The “ghost” is seemingly vanquished but the good doctors explanation is paper thin. The film attempts to be clever. It tries to bring something a different twist to the typical ghost story. Unfortunately it doesn’t work. The “original” twist makes absolutely no sense, it’s a shame because up until the last 10 minutes or so of the film, it’s pretty good if not predictable. The “twist” though leaves nothing but a bad taste in your mouth. Chalk ‘Apartment 143’ up in the same category as ‘Hostel III’ or ‘Kill List’ where the twist leaves you scratching your head more than enjoying the film.