"Apartment 143" is a direct rip-off of both the "Paranormal Activity" franchise and the found-footage genre that can be effective and tiresome in equal measure. This new take on both is from Spain (the film was originally called "Emergo") yet it is filmed in English and even co-stars American actor Michael O’Keefe (TV’s "Roseanne") as part of a parapsychologist team investigating a family being haunted by a diabolical entity.
Following the death of his wife, Alan White (Kai Lennox) moves his young son Benny (Damian Roman) and moody teenage daughter Caitlin (Gia Mantegna) into an apartment after the house they were living in began exhibiting paranormal occurrences. Those occurrences followed them and, desperate to make them stop, Alan calls on a team of paranormal investigators to aid in helping him get rid of whatever is in their apartment.
Joining Dr. Helzer (O’Keefe) are cameraman Paul (Rick Gonzalez) and ghost-hunter Ellen (Fiona Glascott) who don’t expect to really find anything supernatural, but soon discover they were very, very wrong.
Nothing in "Apartment 143" is particularly new; there are loud noises, flashes of a grotesque human figure, furniture moving and/or flying around, alleged possessions, and a séance. The ending is intense, but leaves the viewer wanting more, and the final shot is a rip-off of another film. Despite all of this, there is still an unsettling quality to the film that made me turn the lights back on as the movie got creepier. That tired and true gimmick of watching a static shot of a room while waiting for something startling to happen is still unbearably suspenseful and the innovative and mostly non-CGI special effects are impressive. There is also a lovely monologue by the father that gives the film some emotional depth and allows Lennox to show off his acting chops.
Sadly, O’Keefe seems truly annoyed with being cast in the film and looks like he is desperately wanting to claw his way off set.
"Apartment 143" isn’t anything totally new, but it has some effective scares and easily keeps your interest throughout its short 83-minute running time. Whether it’s a keeper or not, I’m not sure. But it’s worth watching at least once. Preferably with the lights on.
DVD Bonus Features include eight Behind-the-Scenes featurettes and the Theatrical Trailer.