Review 35: The Apparition (.5/5)

The Apparition

Directed by Todd Lincoln

Starring Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton

Released on August 24, 2012

Running time 1h 22m

Rated PG-13

Genre: Horror

I know I just complained about the Pang brothers of the Gin Gwai (The Eye) fame, but now I must complain about Tom Felton. Tom Felton is the actor who portrayed Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise. I cannot stand to see a talented actor such as Mr. Felton fall so far from grace. There are also two more actors I must complain about: Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan. Ashley Greene is known for portraying Alice Cullen in the Twilight saga, giving one of the best performances in the entire franchise (I still say Michael Sheen takes the cake), and Sebastian Stan is known for playing Bucky Barnes, AKA the Winter Soldier in the Captain America soon-to-be-trilogy. Even Julianna Guill, who played Bree in the remake of Friday the 13th, should consider The Apparition a step down.

Let’s just get this over with. This is my third attempt at sitting through this.

The trailer said that a group of young adults were attempting to create a paranormal entity, and that they succeeded. The actual movie has little to nothing to do with this premise.

Our story begins with a bit of found footage. Yes. Because it did SO WELL – oh, forget it. The footage shows several elders, rather than young adults, participating in the “Charles Experiment”. No, I don’t know what that is. And it has nothing to do with the “Charlie Charlie challenge”. The only thing I know about it is this: according to this movie, participating in it never ends well. But, strangely enough, nothing actually happens in the found footage. That was a wasted opportunity.

We then transition out of nowhere to a group of young adults (there they are!) led by Patrick (Tom Felton), who attempt to recreate the experiment, but with more advanced technology. And of course, GASP! SOMETHING GOES WRONG! A supernatural force attacks the group and pulls one of them into the wall!

And then we transition to another plotline, forgetting about the previous one for about a half hour. Wait, what? Am I even watching the same movie?

Anyway, we transition to Ben (Sebastian Stan) and his girlfriend Kelly (Ashley Greene). One morning, they find mold and spores in several locations around their house. This builds up for about a half hour. One night, Ben receives 36 urgent emails from Patrick, who for some idiotic reason, attempted to try the experiment again. Because it worked SO WELL the first time! Anyway, the messages are very short ant to the point, reading, for example, “CONTAINMENT FAILED”, and “YOU ARE IN DANGER”. Wait, why are the two of them in danger? I know Ben was at the experiment, but Kelly wasn’t there at all. Why is she in danger?

After Kelly and Ben see the apparition, they run to a hotel, where they are attacked again. They receive a call from Patrick, who I could have sworn was dead. Patrick meets up with them and tells them that the experiments allowed a malevolent entity from purgatory to enter their world, and that Patrick has built a room surrounded by negative current, which he believes is able to protect him from the entity. The three return to Kelly and Ben’s house and try another experiment to contain the entity. Kelly sees the entity, which I just complained about in my The Messengers review. The entity is just another reskin of Kayako Saeki from The Grudge. Anyway, the experiment – whoa, whoa, whoa, are we at the climax already? We’re not even an hour in! We still have twenty minutes left in the movie! Anyways, the house begins to shake, but then abruptly stops. For a few minutes, Kelly, Ben, and Patrick act like it’s all over, but then, we abruptly learn that – GASP! It’s NOT REALLY OVER! Patrick is claimed by the entity. Kelly and Ben run to Patrick’s safe room, where we learn that – GASP! The safe room DOESN’T WORK! Ben is claimed by the entity and Kelly runs away.

Patrick narrates that the entity gets stronger with each person it claims, and that it will tear down its victims’ defenses until they’re too weak to resist.

Kelly wanders around, as if she’s the last person on earth, until she enters an empty Costco. She goes inside an empty tent, zips it up, and waits. Several hands appear from behind her and slowly grab her and the screen cuts to black.

This was a terrible excuse for a horror movie. The Apparition ultimately drags itself across the finish line at a running time of about an hour and fourteen minutes, with eight minutes of credits. It ultimately commits the same sin as Darkness Falls, but does it worse. The Apparition is even shorter.

The Apparition is completely unoriginal in its storytelling, isn’t scary in the slightest, is almost completely plotless, and almost put me to sleep several times. Its unoriginality becomes even more painful when compared to Ju-on, Ringu, Kairo, and Paranormal Activity. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY!

I think that the found footage bit in the beginning involving the group of young adults was the only tense bit in the entire movie.

Ultimately, The Apparition’s only saving grace was a decent performance by Tom Felton. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan. They have talent – just not enough to survive poor direction. And, ultimately, it is writer/director Todd Lincoln’s fault for making such a stupid movie. It’s an interesting idea, but it is never elaborated upon, and the story never actually goes anywhere. Just like The Messengers. Sigh.

Considering its very narrow theater release, 810 theaters to be exact, and the fact that The Apparition has, as of today, only recouped $9.6 million of its $18 million budget, it would seem that Warner Brothers, who released it, is trying to bury a colossal failure.

It would appear that they have succeeded.

Final verdict: .5 out of 5 stars.

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