The Horror Honeys: Heat, hot water and ghost included!

Heat, hot water and ghost included!

A Supernatural Honey Contemporary Review

Apartment  143 (2011)

Since I joined the Honeys, and even when I was contributing on a guest basis, I only reviewed films made before 1980, with one exception. I rarely watch anything made after 1995 unless I’m familiar with the director, it’s foreign or it just looks really interesting. However, because I love you, and love is really nothing more than pain and suffering, I suffered for you and watched a movie from 2011. I expect a nice muffin basket for this.

Three parapsychologists (Michael O’Keefe, Fiona Glascott and Rick Gonzalez) investigate the paranormal happenings at the apartment of the White family who recently lost their matriarch in an accident. The family, consisting of disheveled widower, Alan White (Kai Lennox), his angry, teenage daughter, Caitlin (Gia Mantegna) and 4 year old son, Benny (Damian Roman), believes the activity to be the work of mom, whom the boy claims he can see. The team sets out to debunk the haunting by setting up camp and monitoring round the clock. 

The ghost hunters integrate themselves into the family and discover not is all as it seems. Mr. White paints the picture of a loving family, devastated by the loss of beloved wife and mother. As the investigation continues, the severe dysfunction emerges and with that, the activity becomes more violent. The “Doctor” (O’Keefe) dismisses the activity as a haunting and claims it’s a manifestation of the daughter’s anger and possible schizophrenia.

I am not a fan of the “found footage” film. Sure, it was fun in the beginning, but enough already! While, technically, this film happens in real time, the entire movie is viewed through the lenses of a personal video or mounted cameras in the home, a lot of it in night vision. As far as I’m concerned, it qualifies. It was like watching a slightly more interesting version of Ghost Adventures, without the douchiness.

I’m going to now pick on the title. The original title of this film is Emergo, which means to appear or emerge in Latin. It’s much more appropriate for the story and, frankly, don’t we have enough movies with “apartment” or “room” in the title? In fact, Mr. White makes it clear the activity started when they were still living in their home and it followed them to the apartment. So, a la Insidious, it’s the family that’s haunted, not the apartment. 

The effects are what you might expect from this type of film. It relies on the jump scare, but sadly, even that isn’t executed well. In one scene, where a camera is rotating back and forth in the darkness, snapping pictures, you know what you’re going to see. After several minutes of nothing, an apparition, but the figure is too in focus and lingers for too long. You also have the surprise banging and shattered glass. Bottom line, it just wasn’t scary, not even accidentally.

The one thing this movie had going for it was the acting. Aside from O’Keefe, who did not age well, I’m not familiar with anyone else in the cast. The chemistry was good and they were all very natural, acting as if they were sort of thrust upon one another and are just trying to make the best of a bad situation. Special shout out to Damian Roman who acted his 4 year old little heart out. 

In the end, after a terribly confusing climax, I’m still not entirely sure what the hell was going on. There was no “this house is clean” moment. Was it a ghost? A demon? A poltergeist? The team just swept up the debris and went out for a beer. One thing is certain; the Whites were not getting their security deposit back.

Supernatural Honeys says: I’m afraid I can only give this 2.5 night vision cameras out of 5.