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Movie: Apartment 143 (Emergo) (2011)

The first real ghost story

Apartment 143 (Emergo) (2011) is the latest edition to the found-footage camcorder horror genre on league with 'The Blair Witch Project', 'Rec', and 'Paranormal Activity'.

Synopsis: A team of parapsychologists - Dr. Helzer (Michael O'Keefe), Paul (Rick Gonzalez), and Ellen (Fiona Glascott) - sets out to investigate a series of anomalous phenomena taking place in an apartment of a family of three - the father Alan White (Kai Lennox), his teenage daughter Caitlin (Gia Mantegna), and 4-year old son Benny (Damian Roman).

Telephone calls with no caller, mysterious shadows, extraordinary light emissions, flying objects, and exploding light bulbs, are some of the events they will face while recording their every step with state-of-the-art technology. Using infra-red filming, digital photography, psychophonic recordings, movement detectors, and magnetic field alteration meters, the group's attempts to contact the "other side" will grow increasingly dangerous as they near a point of no return...

Quite a flawed movie despite its efforts to maintain a balance between scientific explanations and supernatural occurrences.

Here are some of the reasons:

There is a lot of techno-talk on how the pieces of investigative equipment work to eliminate possible natural causes for the phenomenon. The rest is philoso-babble on how poltergeists might possibly come from subconscious "demons" in one's inability to cope with tragedy. It was like it was a priority in the writing to suggest this to the audience. Everything that happens seems to deny this hypothesis, but it doesn't really matter. The film struggles to tell its story... It would have really been nice had the creators focused more on the characters in the story and their relationship to one another.... We are given a number of suggestions, but never any unity between the indications as to the cause of the disturbances. The result is a movie that has a few riveting scares, but no idea of what it wants to accomplish—and then it finishes by indulging in horror clichés and "restless spirit" imagery. [via]

Camera formats change every once in a while to keep things from getting too visually stale, alternating between surveillance cameras, head-mounted models, and more formal over-the-shoulder interview arrangements. It's a move which hardly alleviates the fact that too many dialogue exchanges involve our scientists explaining their gadgets at great length and splitting hairs as to the proper definition of the phenomena at hand, while most of the scare scenes are old hat routines of panning a strobe light across an empty space until something pops up or hosting a seance that draws ghostly attention. When a character explains towards the end that the team had to test every hypothesis, it feels like a coded cop-out for the filmmakers to cycle through every tried-and-true scenario on a haunted-house checklist... The cast can't really be faulted on its part, with every actor playing their respective types well (puzzled experts, curious kid, angsty teen), though Lennox gets to run the greatest emotional gamut as the harried widower, culminating in a tremendous, sustained confession scene that is arguably more effective than any of the scares on display. [via]

Umm... I won't recommend this movie (DVD) unless you have nothing else to watch, which is quite unlikely. :)

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