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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Emergo" )

 

directed by Carles Torrens
Spain 2011

 

When the frightening "paranormal activity" follows recently widowed Alan White (Kai Lennox, BOOGIE NIGHTS), his teenage daughter Caitlin (Gia Mantegna, the AND SOON THE DARKNESS remake), and todder son Ben (Damian Roman) from their old house to a decrepit Los Angeles apartment, Alan consults parapsychologist Dr. Helzer (Michael O'Keefe, MICHAEL CLAYTON). Helzer brings along assistant Ellen (Fiona Glascott, RESIDENT EVIL) and tech consultant Paul (Rick Gonzalez, the PULSE remake) to document his investigation; and they don't have long to wait. Banging and crashing sounds with no source give way to psychokinetic activity, and the specter of a woman appears in a photograph behind Caitlin. Benny believes that the entity is his mother (who died in a fiery car crash after a long illness), but Caitlin - who has been scratched in her sleep - blames her father (for her mother's death, for the move, and anything else). In spite of an episode of possession during a seance, Helzer is convinced that the haunting is the work of a poltergeist (energy channeled and externalized by a individuals in stressful situations), but the hauntings escalate and the attacks become more violent: is it poltergeist activity, demonic possession, or revenge from beyond the grave?

The Spanish-lensed (although set in Los Angeles) APARTMENT 143 would seem on the surface to be a loose variation on the Enfield poltergeist story (which loosely inspired the controversial BBC TV film GHOSTWATCH and the later URBAN GHOST STORY). The script dispenses with any doubt as to trickery in favor of developing the family dynamic; however, the performances and direction are not always up to the drama. Lennox fares best as the stressed out, not entirely forthcoming father. Gonzalez is appropriately insufferable as the tech guy, but O'Keefe's ridiculously humorless performance is more distracting than dispassionate. The paranormal activity is nothing we have not seen in a number of these pictures, but are more jolting because the haunting force seems unconcerned with hiding itself from outsiders so the jolts are not as predictably placed as they have been in other "found footage" films (after long stretches of "atmosphere"). The multiple cameras, aspect ratios, and video resolutions also create a varied texture and unpredictable cutting rhythm. Not entirely successful or thought-provoking enough, APARTMENT 143 still has its share of scares and is worth a rental at least.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 11 October 2011 (Spain)

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DVD Comparison:

Magnolia Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Magnolia Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Magnolia Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Momentum Pictures
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:19:54 1:17:03 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.84:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.27 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.86:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.76 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Magnolia Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

Momentum Pictures

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

Subtitles Spanish, English (closed-captioning), none English HoH, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Magnolia Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.84:1

Edition Details:
• Making EMERGO [APARTMENT 143] (16:9; 16:15)
• Special Effects (16:9; 5:17)
• Levitating (16:9; 4:20)
• Visual Concept (16:9; 5:49)
• Art Direction & Make-up (16:9; 4:57)
• Child's Play (16:9; 3:53)
• Interview with Director Carles Torrens (16:9; 18:47)
• HDNet: A Look at APARTMENT 143 (16:9; 5:01)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:21)
• Trailers for HEADHUNTERS, GOD BLESS AMERICA, THE HUNTER, MARLEY, and BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW

DVD Release Date: 28 August 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Momentum Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.86:1

Edition Details:
• Making-of (16:9; 15:01)
• UK Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:56)

 

DVD Release Date: 15 October 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Shot in a variety of video formats (including Hi-8, SD digital video, and HD) and aspect ratios between 1.33:1 and 1.85:1 (and further digitally-degraded and darkened in post), APARTMENT 143's look is all about seeking out details in the murk. Momentum Pictures's DVD has a moderately higher bitrate over Magnolia's disc, but the results are pretty much the same (as expected given the film's recent vintage). For all but the film's most ardent fans, extras on the Magnolia disc are a case of quantity over quality. The ~15 minute making-of featurette featured on both discs is a nice condensation of everything covered in the individual segments included on the Magnolia release. We only see the workings of the teenage girl's levitation effect with explanation about the CGI erasure of the cables in the documentary, while we get additional greenscreen footage in the "Levitating" featurette; similarly, we see the same methods used for hurling the other actors and stunt doubles in the effects featurette.

The Magnolia disc does feature an eighteen minute interview with the director (repeating much of what he and others said in the making-of and individual featurettes, but more focused without the cutaways). The same disc's HDNet featurette on the film excerpts all of his comments from the aforementioned interview and behind the scenes footage from the making-of and all of the individual segments. The trailers for the film on the two discs are different (both give away most of the scares). The Magnolia DVD and Blu (B0081HLMRE) are more comprehensive, but casual UK viewers are not missing all that much with just the making-of on the Momentum DVD.

 - Eric Cotenas

 


DVD Menus
(
Magnolia Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Magnolia Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Magnolia Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Magnolia Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Magnolia Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 


(Magnolia Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Magnolia Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Magnolia Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Momentum Pictures - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Draw

Sound:

Draw

Extras: Draw (see comments)

Menu:

Draw

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Magnolia Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Momentum Pictures
Region 2 - PAL

 

 

 




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