Monday, April 30, 2012
Apartment 143 -- AKA Emergo (2012)
I will always check out a new found footage/faux documentary film. It's my kryptonite. There are a lot of naysayers out there regarding this style of genre filmmaking but on the whole, the good ones that utilize this style are far more in number than the bad. And the initial trailer for this creeped me right the fuck out. Call me a sucker.
Apartment 143 wastes no time throwing us into the thick of things: a trio of paranormal investigators, a doctor, a tech lead, and a British accented woman (who I believe was there to give credence to it all), visit the home of a widowed man, his young son and teenage daughter. It's mere moments into their scoping of the place and setting up cameras throughout when things begin to bump and thump across floors and ceilings overhead.
Much isn't known at first about the family other than our widowed father had a sick wife and she died in a horrible accident which his daughter still blames him for. Oh yeah, and the young son claims to have seen dear ol' mum and states that she's followed them from their last place of residence. But why exactly they are being 'inconvenienced' and followed isn't known. However, as our investigative group digs in and things progress, the mystery of this presence makes itself known and we learn the much darker secret that this family is harboring.
Your scares are pretty standard fare here a la Paranormal Activity: loud noises are meant to rattle and jolt, objects slide across floors as grainy cameras capture it all. There is one really effective scene where a tripod is used to project rapid bursts of flashing light in succession. It's unnerving and terrifying and it'll make epileptics go haywire.
The doctor's theory makes the angle of the film much more different than your typical haunting or even caught on video exorcism. Something that lies in between. It's not really dear old mom. Well, I really don't want to ruin the surprise so I'll stop here.
What I will say, and what really drew my ire and completely took me out of the film, was the long drawn out conclusion that the doctor and father come to. The doc gets dad to finally spill the beans both on what really happened to his wife and basically, what a terrible person she was in real life. The problem with this is that it then leads into an overly drawn out diagnosis of what it is that is haunting this family. It gets incredibly bogged down in both science and psychosis that it'll make your head hurt. The doctor's initial theory should have been moved forward with and the story shouldn't have attempted to explain anything else.
As a result, the film gets crushed under the weight of its own aspirations. For the life of me, I can not figure out why modern genre filmmakers feel the need to completely spell out everything so the audience 'gets it' or why subtlety is eschewed in favor of a sledgehammer to the face. Don't they know that the horror of the unknown or relatively unexplained is far more terrifying and compelling? As it were, Apartment 143 really missed the boat. And that ending. Jesus, talk about a stereotypical ripoff.
Cortez the Killer