Movie Reviews

‘The Apparition’: Shriekingly bad

By Patrick BenjaminMovies - 25 August 2012 12:00 AM

‘The Apparition’: Shriekingly bad

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Rating: 1 star out of 5

Is this really a supernatural-paranormal movie or just a ploddingly sub-standard piece of movie making? Well, judging from the contagious yawns and sniggers apparent from the audience, we think it’s the latter.

Debutant feature film director Todd Lincoln bamboozles us with the bizarrely shambolic ‘The Apparition’ where the most interesting factoids we learn are that a certain American hypermarket sells mini cactus and tents are where young couples might get frisky.

Running at a painfully agonizing 82 minutes, this presumably “frightening” suburban sprawl bore begins with not one but two introductory scenes to set us up on this bleak journey.

With Lincoln a little zealous on trying to get the historical tone of this film right, we have to endure two re-enactments reeking of grainy, surveillance styled footage based on paranormal experiments by two different groups of parapsychology undergrads.  We are simply confounded why he had to include the first 1973 experiment because it served no purpose in an already ramblingly mediocre film.

For the benefit of the audience, at least the longer, botched second experiment was central to the ensuing action of “Oh, crap we mindlessly unleashed forces beyond our control” movie making philosophy evident here.  

Despite the director gloating in various interviews about how he intends to break free from the formulaic horror and spook fest settings, even the most casual horror filmgoer would have noted the flagrant ripping of scenes and concepts from ‘The Ring’ and ‘Insidious’.  Unless, of course if we missed observing some new way of shooting a spirit crawling about a home.    

Almost every rule that makes a spine chilling spookfest into an accidental laugh fest is observed here.

Firstly, we have a attractive young couple called Ben (Sebastian Stan) and Kelly (Ashley Greene) moving into a new suburban home (obviously an investment home from Kelly’s folks, at least they got something right about the dire economic situation facing most young Americans) whose on-screen chemistry probably amounted to looking good instead of showcasing any acting prowess.

How could Kelly, a vet –in- training, barely react to the mysterious death of her neighbor’s dog except with trademark pouts and cliché mutterings is a telling showcase of how leaden the performances are.

And when Ben suspects there is some otherworldly presence in their home, he grabs of all things a baseball bat (Come on Captain America, you will do better with the garbage lid as ghost-busting shield) as Kelly struts after him in a PG-13 approved black camisole and panty combo. To further infuriate us, we have to bear with the psychobabble spewing, bespectacled Patrick (Tom Felton, a household name as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise) who tries to assist the disturbed couple by casually sipping bottled beers while explaining his previous paranormal experiments and the inability to alert his mates.

While there are a couple of scenes to explore an alternate, supernatural realm such as Ben’s soul writhing on the ceiling of a hotel room and Kelly nearly being smothered to death by a spirit guided bedsheet, these scenes don’t create any palpable feeling of anxiety in most punters.

Even the most ardent teenybopper fans of the trio would want to avoid this nauseous celluloid offering. As for other punters, catching a re-run of Channel 5’s “Pulau Hantu” would be time better spent than watching this trite excuse of a movie. Only if the spirits of Nazi soldiers found in East Berlin’s Studio Babelsberg (where a large portion of this movie was shot) could have intervened and stopped this atrocious movie in the production stage, they might have sneaked into the good books of all horror fans.

‘The Apparition’ is now showing in theatres everywhere