Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Apartment 143 (2011)

apartmentDirector: Carles Torrens

Writer: Rodrigo Cortes (Screenplay)

Starring: Francesc Garrido, Fiona Glascott, Rick Gonzalez, Kai Lennox, Gia Mantegna, Michael O’Keefe


Plot: A team of parapsychologists try to figure out a strange phenomenon occurring in an apartment building.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Nicely Done


Story: Apartment 143 starts as we meet our parapsychologist team of Dr Helzer (O’Keefe), Ellen Keegan (Glascott) and cameraman Paul Ortega (Gonzalez) as they head to the White residents of Alan (Lennox), Caitlin (Mantegna) and Benny (Roman) for their latest case. We hear the White’s story of their haunting which included moving house to escape it.

With the day together running smoothly with nothing going on the first night together the team get to experience the paranormal activity first hand as they start gathering evidence. As the nights pass the haunting become more dangerous as we learn the true identity of the ghost haunting the family.

Apartment 143 gives us something very different when it comes to the found footage horror, granted we only go down the same street we do get a more realistic look at paranormal. We get to look at how a scientist makes everything look like a human issue rather than just a ghost haunting which I did like but then we get plenty that went unexplained with the ghost encounters. I also liked how this ended up making us feel like it was just another episode of their show not about the actors. This isn’t great but better than a lot of the paranormal found footage films.


Actor Review


Michael O’Keefe: Dr Helzer is the scientist leading the team’s investigation, he always likes to see something before suggestion the paranormal making him the sceptic of the group. Michael is good but nothing stand-out in this role.

Fiona Glascott: Ellen Keegan is another member of the team, she takes the photos, conducts the interviews and works with Paul to look for any potential activity. Fiona is solid in this role coming off as part of the team well.

Rick Gonzalez: Paul Ortega is the technician on the team, he sets up the cameras while watches them and films each part of the investigation. He is the reason why we have to watch through the moments of shaky cam. Rick is solid without doing anything extra in this role.

Kai Lennox: Alan White is the father of the victim’s family, he is a widower that is trying to keep his two children safe but as the story unfolds we find out he might not be everything we believe he is. Kai is good again just not getting enough time to b memorable.

Support Cast: Apartment 143 only has a couple more cast members who do a good job with what they need to do.

Director Review: Carles TorrensCarles does a good job but I feel the final scene is extremely cheap scare tactic that takes away what the film has created.


Horror: Apartment 143 has good horror elements throughout that do achieve a few good scares.

Thriller: Apartment 143 does keep us wondering into where the story would go next.

Settings: Apartment 143 keeps nearly all of the story inside the apartment showing us how the problems have been hitting this family.
Special Effects
: Apartment 143 has good effects when needed but let’s most of the story play on our minds.

Suggestion: Apartment 143 is one for the horror fans to try but don’t expect the best. (Try It)


Best Part: Balancing the paranormal with human side to what is going on.

Worst Part: Final moment.


Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Tagline: The First Real Ghost Story


Overall: Solid horror that does a have a few ups and downs.



Already Dead (2007)

alreadyDirector: Joe Otting

Writer: Joe Chappelle (Screenplay) Robert Archer Lynn, David Alford (Story)

Starring: Ron Eldard, Til Schweiger, Patrick Kilpatrick, Geoff Pierson, Marisa Coughlan, Christopher Plummer


Plot: When Thomas Archer’s happy & successful life is all but ruined following a horrific attack he is presented with a perfect opportunity to exact physical revenge upon the man who caused all his grief. However the immediate consequences of his actions and inactions are much more complicated than he imagined. Who will survive ?


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Dull Thriller


Story: Already Dead starts as we see Thomas Archer (Eldard) having to follow instructions by mobile as he is looking to get his son back from a kidnapper. We continue to watch Thomas take instructions as he runs the events of the night when his son was taken through his mind.

As the night continues he gets put through tests by the man on the phone including being able to get revenge on the man that killed his son, but are these just tests where they criminal is getting this man to do his dirty work. We watch how the twists are laid into plan for this film as they come thick and fast.

Already Dead gives us a story which asks you the question just how far would you go to get revenge on the person who took and killed your son, but it also throws a twist in their where we have to deal with the idea the cops have created a game to rid the streets of criminals of people they don’t want or can’t deal with through legal reasons. I would question certain character decisions because after what happens would these two men be friends, I think not.

Onto the acting and what can I say, this doesn’t have the best acting from any of the people involved with the lead struggling to make any sort of impact in the screen and most of the supporting cast barely doing anything of merit.


Overall: Thriller that lacks all the punches it needs to truly stand out.




A Monster Calls (2016)

monsterDirector: J.A. Bayona

Writer: Patrick Ness (Screenplay) Patrick Ness (Novel)

Starring: Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Ben Moor, James Melville, Liam Neeson


Plot: A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mother’s terminal illness.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Emotional Knock Out Punch


Story: A Monster Calls starts as we meet Conor (MacDougall) a boy who is dealing with his mother’s (Jones) terminal illness by having to take care of himself while still attending school where he finds it hard to concentrate.

Conor’s night gets interrupted by a tree monster (Voiced by Neeson) who has come to tell Conor three stories in exchange for one from Conor. With his mother’s condition only getting worse his grandma (Weaver) wants to offer him a place for when the worst happens.

As the story continues we see how Conor must deal with a change in his life that will be something no child should have to go through as he learns one of the hardest lessons in life.


Thoughts on A Monster Calls


StoryThe story here is clear for everyone watching, this is one family a son, mother, grandmother and dad dealing with the impending death of a loved one. We get to see how Conor the son deals with everything in his own way that means he doesn’t get punished for anything, we get to see how the mother must stay strong for her son until the very end and how the grandmother must deal with the upcoming death of her daughter while being the only one there for grandson. This will make you cry it is as simple as that because his is one of the hardest hitting emotional punches you will ever receive.

Fantasy We are thrown into a fantasy world that Conor creates to help him deal with the tragic events that are happening within his life, we are left to decide for ourselves which side of the story is real or not with the fantasy element too.

Characters/PerformanceConor is a character that we could see in so many situations when a parent is terminally ill, he struggles to find his place when he knows his future but can’t face it. When we look at the adults we get to see the struggling mother with her health, the father who isn’t around and the grandmother who doesn’t really know how to act because she will be losing her daughter but needing to be strong for her grandson. The tree monster is a great character in its own right, even if it is created to help Conor deal with the problems in his life.

When you look at the performance youngest Lewis MacDougall is brilliant in this role going through the full range of emotions while the bigger name actors let him take the centre stage.

SettingsThe settings used make us feel like this is just a normal family that has had to deal with its ups and downs but now it will be taking on the biggest down. We don’t get any iconic settings but we get everything we need to feel the pain the characters go through.

Special EffectsThe special effects here are brilliant making us fully believe there is in fact a monster with Conor helping him through this difficult time.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most heart-breaking films of the year but shows just how difficult the situation would be for a young boy.


Overall: Bring your tissues to this film that will leave you emotional exhausted by the end.




Disaster Weekend – Aftershock (2010)

aftershockDirector: Xiaogang Feng

Writer: Wu Si (Screenplay) Ling Zhang (Novel)

Starring: Fan Xu, Jingchu Zhang, Chen Li, Ti Lu, Zi-feng Zhang, Jiajun Zhang, Zhong Lu


Plot: The epic story of a family separated as a result of the Great Tangshan Earthquake of 1976.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Emotional Charged Epic


Story: Aftershock starts as we meet the family of husband Daqiang (Guoqiang Zhang) wife Yuanni (Xu) and children Deng (Zi-feng Zhang) and Da (Jiajun Zhang) who live a normal happy life in the city of Tangshan, but one night their lives are shattered when a devastating earthquake destroys the city.

With Daqiang killed in the quake Yuanni begs everyone to help rescue her children from the concrete grave they find themselves under as she finds herself with the impossible decision of which one of her children she can save because saving one will kill the other. Saving her son Yuanni believes her daughter is dead leaving her with the dead bodies but somehow Deng survives and is rescued by a solider to start her new life. We also follow how Yuanni and Da (Li) start the next chapter of their life with Yuanni filled with the guilt about the decision she had to make.

Decades pass without either knowing the truth of the other’ lives as Deng (Jingchu Zhang) and Da have the impossible chance encounter at another earthquake and learn of the heartbreak the earthquake caused both sides of the family.

Aftershock is bar far and above the greatest disaster related film I have ever seen. The disaster is only the background to this story and the effects are incredible. The story is the most important part of this film and see the 32-year tragic story of the family divided by the disaster, this side of the story shows the decisions the family make because of what happened and each decision pulls of the heart strings. This film will bring a tear to the eye because of how powerful this film is and is an absolute must watch for all. Each performance is brilliant and you can feel the emotion the characters are feeling.


Overall: Heart-breaking, stunning, epic, emotional, powerful film that is simply the best in the genre.




Arrival (2016)

arrDirector: Denis Villeneuve

Writer: Eric Heisserer (Screenplay) Ted Chiang (Story)

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O‘Brien, Tzi Ma


Plot: When 12 mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: This is a Pure Wow


Story: Arrival starts meet Louise Banks (Adams) who is a linguistics professor when they arrive. They being 12 mysterious shape spacecrafts that have appeared around the world.

With the world growing with tension about the visitors Colonel Weber (Whitaker) brings in Louise and Ian Donnelly (Renner) to help translate the language the crafts are speaking. The months go past as they search for a way to communicate making baby steps along the way but can they finally get through to each other?


Thoughts on Arrival


StoryThis is one of the most fascinating stories in sci-fi from out of space in years, it avoids all the mindless destruction to look at a logical answer to what it would be like it we got a visit from space, the solving of the reasoning if you like. The film does also have a twist that just leaves you confused at first but fully understanding everything that happens.

Sci-Fi/Mystery/ThrillerThe sci-fi elements are easy to spot here with the alien introduction with the mystery being all about why they are here with the thrilling side of the story coming from which side of the fence you believe the humans will act, in peace or in violence.

Characters/PerformanceLouise is a very interesting, down to Earth character that can tackle the problem at hand with minimal fuss to make sure that the right thing is done. While Ian does makes for a good supporting character he is happy to take a step back for Louise to take the lead on the case.

SettingsThe settings give us a full look at what it will be like within these spacecrafts as well having the full military presence throughout the film.

Special EffectsThe special effects being used are all fantastic as we get to see a constant use of unease within the spacecraft with the mist while we see the spacecraft look completely as one with the locations we find them in.

Final ThoughtsThis is by far one of the greatest alien incoming movies you will ever see that makes you think about what might happen if we did get visited.


Overall: Brilliant story telling, brilliant performances and unbelievable out to this sci-fi thriller.