Rating: 2 stars out of 5
In space, as the tagline in Alien goes, “No one can hear you scream”. And no one can hear you mutter, “Hey, this doesn’t make sense, dudes”.
Somebody here had the bright idea of staging The Blair Witch Project as a sci-fi horror on the moon with all the shivers of found footage – you know, the sort of grainy, jumpy, looks-like-real thingy where the camera keeps rolling while the subjects are scared into peeing out waterfalls in their pants. In this case, cumbersome spacesuits which supposedly add to the claustrophobic terror of no escape.
Two astronauts – Captain Ben Anderson (Warren Christie) and Commander Nate Walker (Lloyd Owen) – are sent to the moon on a hush-hush secret mission of Apollo 18 in 1974 (the final Apollo mission in real life was No. 17). A third spaceman, Lieutenant Colonel John Grey (Ryan Robbins), orbits above them in the command module.
"Houston, we have an alien problem."
Before you can say AVA – alien vs astronaut – things go bumpy stuff gets toppled over, the flag planted outside their landing craft goes missing and some kind of little unseen beings move very fast on the surface as if they’re racing in F1 (that’s Full Moon 1, by the way).
The two fellas find that not only are they totally not alone up there, but they haven’t been told the truth either. For good measure, one lunar guy, Walker, goes nuts turning into Jack Nicholson in The Shining, smashing vital oxygen-filled equipment with a hammer. You expect him to go “Heeeere’s Loony Moony!” any moment.
Look, jokes aside, there are thrills here. How could there not be when The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, two preceding chillers of docu-style voyeurism, took place on cosy Planet Earth where McDonalds is just a quick drive away?
Man, these two dudes in Apollo 18 are stuck far, far out there alone on the barren moonscape with no atmosphere to suck in. That’s where this moon pic breaks apart. Spanish director Gonzalo López-Gallego creates a great spookily stifling atmosphere with the airless lockdown and heavy breathing. But the overall atmosphere is one of nothing really big-a** scary launching off here.
This, plus some pretty lame moon aliens. The movie’s biggest flaw: How can it be called ‘found footage’ when things blow up and everything, despite the docu look, looks like the director of photography is holding the camera?
Did they send a fourth astronaut up there?
As the logic collapses, the conspiracy continues.