Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Apartment 143 (2011)

Well, it’s a new year and it’s time for some new movies. So why waste time? Why not start off with one that makes me wish I had never even learned what a ‘movie’ was?

Director: Carles Torrens
Starring: Kai Lennox, Michael O'Keefe

I mean this is so bad, I have a hard time even imagining the people who made it are functioning human beings. This was made by cavemen. Or insane asylum patients. I seriously can’t comprehend the level of pure absence of thought it would take to come up with something this asinine. How do these people even get dressed in the morning? How is it that they haven’t caused some kind of nuclear reaction trying to make their oatmeal every day? Because Satan knows, they’ve certainly made a toxic mess out of the art of filmmaking. This is Apartment 143.

We start off with a bunch of morons “testing” their first-person found footage cam. It doesn’t really serve a purpose or anything – it’s just so we don’t forget that the movie is supposed to be “realistic found footage” style. Because the audience is the type that forgets things after five seconds, I’m guessing.

AAAAAHHHHH! Don't eat me!
Hey, that's the same reaction I have to this whole movie!

And yes. These are supposed to be the “paranormal researchers” of the movie, and I put that in quotes because you probably know more about the paranormal than these dingbats will ever know. The characters are pretty one note … an annoying cameraman, some Irish chick whose only role is, well, to be a chick, and a craggy old man for a boss. Isn’t it a great sign for your movie when your actors fall asleep while you’re trying to shoot?

They get to this apartment they’re supposed to be at and immediately start a long train of “setting up sound equipment” scenes, which don’t serve any purpose. Oh, wait, I’m sorry. They do serve a purpose. Two, actually! One is to waste time, because the movie has barely over an hour of actual “storytelling” – a dubious claim to the word, but still. The other is to reiterate for the second time in under ten minutes just how amazing and realistic it is that the movie is using shaky camera found footage gimmicks to tell its story.

The family they’re visiting apparently has some supernatural stuff going on. The father is a complete waste of testosterone who can’t even stand up to his daughter, who is abjectly terrifying. Seriously, she should be the monster in this film:

What kind of a father just lets his daughter scream in his face and slam doors all over the house, then slinking away like a wounded dog? Well, apparently this guy. The backstory to this whole thing is that the family experienced some paranormal stuff in their home and then moved to get away from it. But, shock and awe, the ghost has followed them to their new apartment! So it's basically Insidious, except without anything entertaining.

So the movie just kind of aimlessly meanders along, like a retarded baby elephant. We get some Paranormal Activity rip off scenes here and there, just a bunch of green-lit garbage, mixed in with boring ones of the family eating dinner with the paranormal researchers.

Now on Apartment 143, watching middle aged men sleep!
What point does this scene serve anyway? Pretty much fuckin' nothing at all. How utterly asinine ... this movie seems to think it's being realistic with these scenes, but nobody wants to see this shit! It's the stuff you edit out in the studio when you're putting together a film!

I don’t know why, but that strikes me as funny. Why are they eating dinner together? Was that part of the contract? Did a fine-print clause way at the bottom of the last page demand that the bereaved family make the paranormal researchers dinner?

But hey, at least they do the dishes:

Get used to it guys, it's the only job you'll have after this.

They make some stupid jokes, and then they see that one of the pictures on the wall has been turned upside down. Is that really the best you can do as a “scare” in this movie? Something that basically amounts to the kids messing around and not paying attention when they put a picture back on the wall after knocking it down?

The whole thing is just so contrite. We really need overly long scenes of the family hearing noises in the dark and then just finding out it was the ghost moving a tea kettle? Wasn’t that like a throwaway gag in the Poltergeist movies to create some lighthearted, kid friendly scares more than 30 years ago? How is this relevant, scary or interesting at all?

Hell, maybe the ghost just wanted tea. Ever think of THAT?

Mixed in with that, we get soggy scenes of the dad whining about how his daughter hates him. Apparently the mother in the family died some years back, and the daughter blames the dad for it. His solution is not to try and be a good parent and overcome this maturely, but to whine about it on camera and cry that the mother was the one the daughter really listened to, that he doesn’t know how to communicate – call me insensitive, but I don’t think walking away like a little bitch when your 12-year-old daughter slams the door in your face is going to ease the situation.

And that’s another thing, too – why is he bitching and moaning about all this shit on camera? I guess to an extent, it’s understandable that the researchers need background information. But this guy just goes on and on. Christ. Get a psychiatrist! It’s cheaper and they usually don’t video tape you and put it on Netflix for the world to see.

If you weren’t bored and insulted enough with this movie yet, we get a scene where they’re sitting around analyzing the situation after the family has gone to bed, just as an excuse to shove it in our faces that there are cameras everywhere. WE GET IT.

After some more Paranormal Activity dick-riding, we get a scene the next morning where the father goes in to wake the kids up and the daughter is rude to him again, even telling him to fuck off, because it’s Saturday and she wants to sleep more. At this point, I really have to ask – why is she still even living in that house? Isn’t there some kind of Catholic boarding school the father could send her to, where she could perhaps be hit with a paddle or something every time she tries to mouth off?

I mean there’s just only so much bullshit you can take! There’s being an annoying teenager and then there’s just purely beyond repair. Ship her off to the nunnery!

And get this; the next scene is a séance scene – why don’t you just come out and admit that you’re as bankrupt for ideas as the United States recession from several years ago was for money? What value does a scene like this have? There’s also a part where they even take time out of this movie’s runtime to show the characters setting up mics on everyone – get fucked, movie; you don’t have this kind of time to waste!

Hey, hey, get it? It's found footage! It's realistic! Are you feeling the real horror yet? Get it? It's SO REAL. *gasps for air, forgetting to breathe*

The whole sham is just made all the more laughable and yet perplexing because it doesn’t really do anything. Yeah; nothing happens! What the hell? Jesus, can’t you even try?

So at this point of the film I was just about done. I mean I just couldn’t take it anymore – my brain physically could not take any more of the inane nonsense of the film. What was I supposed to grasp onto? The fact that there’s a several-minute-long scene of the father talking to the douche-bag boss character about what’s really going on? Oh yeah, there’s a real winner of a scene. I’ll sum it up for you in one sentence: the real reason weird stuff is happening is, the daughter is going through puberty.

If you didn’t just press the ‘Back’ button on your browser after reading that, well, why the fuck not? Go do something else. Read a short story. Plant a tree. Help a homeless man buy lunch. Talk to a new potential boyfriend/girlfriend. Why are you even still reading?

Oh well, if you are still reading, let’s talk about this scene in a little more detail. Basically, it’s one of the most poorly put together scenes I’ve seen in a movie in a long time – maybe ever. It’s not just the end result of the guy revealing the “puberty” twist; no no. This whole THING is insane! The guy just rambles on and on … about NOTHING! He’s babbling about how what’s going on is not supernatural, that it’s a “poltergeist syndrome.” Then he says there is nothing supernatural in the universe and parapsychology can be explained by science. Then he goes on to talk about ghosts and spectres and whatnot. How is THAT not supernatural, you human dildo?

Watching this asshole talk in a condescending voice with no changes in the shot and nothing interesting going on OR being said is just about unbearable - call it the eleventh level of Hell.

His conclusion to the whole thing is what I said before – the “poltergeist” following them is really just a manifestation of the daughter’s puberty happening. I think if this was a school term paper, it would get an F. I mean, it’s just so bullshitty – it sounds like the mental excretion of a crazy man. Even if we’re to take the whole “poltergeist syndrome” thing seriously (I guess it’s a real theory), the way the daughter acts in this movie isn’t even consistent with that. Spoiler alert, but yeah, she acts and looks like any old “possessed” person from a Ring or Grudge movie:

Nice contact lenses! Bought those for three bucks at the Halloween store, did you?

Then they hire some “psychic” guy, who looks more like a druggie burnout at a Burning Man concert. The shortest way I can say this is – he’s also fucking insane.

What, are you getting a blowjob under the table? Get the fuck off screen.

Yeah – get this: he says the other side is “just 90 centimeters above our dimension, so that’s why it’s so common to see ghosts from the waist up.” Gee, maybe I’ll vacation there sometime. He also talks about how sensitive ghosts are and how it’s not polite to run away from them. Yeah, those ghosts, man – so sensitive. We really have to be attentive to their feelings and stuff. Otherwise they might write emo poetry on Facebook behind our backs!

I guess these are all legit theories that people have in the realm of ghost studies and whatnot, but even so – isn’t the working theory IN THE MOVIE'S UNIVERSE that it’s NOT anything supernatural? Are you just trying to say that going through puberty is related to ghosts? Because even if you started out with a real paranormal theory, I think even a herd of bulls would gag on the bullshit you're shoveling now.

Then we get the daughter possessed with her eyes all white, talking in a retarded voice about how her father mistreated her somehow – for a minute you end up thinking this is a repressed child molestation story, but nope, that isn’t it either. Then she blows him through a wall.

Breaking that window probably cost them every cent they had. Was it worth it? I guess when the next scene has him eating dinner with his head bowed in shame, the answer is revealed - this is really just an unintentional comedy.

I’m sorry, so what did that psychic guy accomplish? Right, absolutely nothing except more pain, suffering and confusion for these people. I hope the family isn’t paying these hacks too much.

Later on we get the father telling his whole story … with one camera shot, held steady for almost ten minutes while he talks. GOD this movie is annoying.

So, here’s the gist – his wife went crazy and didn’t take care of the kids out of some unbalanced mental state. Then she cheated on him. THERE. THAT WAS EASY. WHY DID YOU NEED TEN MINUTES TO TELL THIS STORY?

Then the whole movie just sort of gives up and goes nuts on you. Lots of screaming, shaky cameras and the boss guy telling the cameraman to KEEP FILMING, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES STOP FILMING, KEEP FILMING SO WE HAVE A FLIMSY WAY TO COVER UP THE PLOT HOLE OF THE CAMERA BEING THERE AT ALL! Maybe I added in that last one from my own opinion. But I doubt it.

In the middle of all the chaos, he looks back and gives that expression to the camera. I really have a hard time believing this was intentional. I think he just wanted to fuck with the movie and so he added in an inappropriately silly face at a "serious" moment. Good job, guy!

There's also a weird thing where he keeps telling Camera Guy to not worry about the Irish chick, saying she's fine over and over again. I dunno, guy. She could be in trouble. I mean, look:

Oh, but I guess helping someone would ruin the integrity of the oh-so-important ghost puberty movie they're shooting. So, yeah, I'm not even kidding; they don't help her. Chivalry is dead. But then again, she does survive at the end, so I guess Mr. Douche Bag Boss was onto something. Not that you'll really be able to get to the end though, without having a seizure from the camera work.

So after all this bullshit, they have some really epic, amazing way to save her, right? Some truly fitting climax for the story? Nope, they just grab her hand once and then she falls down and it’s over.

"April Fool's! I was never really possessed at all! Ha ha ha..." Well, that doesn't happen, but I wish it had.

How anticlimactic. But hey, if it means this movie is shorter, I’m all for it! So really this was a good way to resolve the whole stupid conflict.

After it’s all over, the boss guy and the cameraman stand around exchanging ridiculous dialogue. I’ll give you an example:

CAMERAMAN: Strange day, doc.

BOSS: The strangest day of my life. With a possible exception or two.

Heh heh, yeah, because this movie is so shitty even the characters don’t really think what happened was a big deal. Remember, kids: going through puberty means you turn into a possessed Grudge ghost crawling on the ceiling!

Nothing about this made sense! It was 67 minutes of nothing but pure stupidity. An insult to anyone with a brain. I mean it's a horror movie with a whiny pre-teen girl as the villain. I think I would call that a new low in human entertainment. Personally I’d rather just stare at a wall for 67 minutes. Horrible movie, nothing good about it, just don’t watch it.

Images copyright of their original owners; I do not own any of them.