Schizophrenia, Stigma, and Apartment 143

Watching Apartment 143, I was initially excited because I like found footage style paranormal investigation movies. I like found footage movies in general, so I had looked forward to watching this. I was happy with it at the beginning as it was done fairly well. Sure, some of the acting was off here and there, but a lot of the acting and casting was really on point.

Until the very end, I was sold. The characters had grown on me and the situation was hitting home in that the haunting was becoming genuinely creepy and the technology was adding to the story. Then, it was completely destroyed.

Schizophrenia does not cause poltergeist activity. Period.

The big “reveal” was an insult my intelligence and an insult to people with schizophrenia. It was an insult to people who treat and research schizophrenia. It was an insult to the justice system, and all of those touched by people with schizophrenia or those who live and work alongside them. It’s an insult to paranormal research it is an insult to those who’ve experienced a supernatural episode.

I don’t know what possessed the filmmakers to even go with that sort of an angle and was really shocked when the final theory evolved. The tragedy was that I initially found it a great angle to add. Haunting, found footage, paranormal research, and mental health issues all in one film? For me that is wonderbliss. Then, they drop the ball and basically discard all of the other concepts that I enjoyed; painting haunting, possession, and poltergeist activity with a big grey brush labelled ‘schizophrenic’. Vile.

Unfortunately I enjoyed the film all the way up until the last few minutes. For once, I have found a film that truly destroys my feelings for it in the end. My counterparts at Ottawa Horror had often damned a film for it’s rip-off ending though I have never found myself too angry about a great film with a crap ending. The 80-plus minutes of a good story is usually enough for me. Not this time, sadly.

There was even at an additional minute at the very end that I triple-unenjoyed (if that’s a term) and it’s the exact final scene of the movie. It is some sort of easily hated hated pop-up scare trend infecting a lot of horror films in the last two years. Just another way to insult the intelligence of the viewer, in my opinion.

It could have been a fine movie. A fun movie. I don’t say avoid it, as I’d rather people judge for themselves but I was taken aback with the ham-fisted attitude toward mental health. Ideas like this do not help erase stigma and it doesn’t help with raising awareness or educating people about mental illness. Sure, it is a story. A horror flick. I understand that, but you can’t be insulting and completely ass backwards in fiction since it plays a part in what people form into opinions. That can be kind of scary.