The Apparition (2012)
(15) Running time: 83 minutes
Director: Todd Lincoln
Writer: Todd Lincoln
Cast: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish
Here is a so-called horror film aimed directly at younger teens who have probably never really experienced a proper horror film. A date night horror that is weak, boring and quite bland, and plays it way to safe.
The premise is actually quite interesting: a group of college kids conduct a parapsychology experiment, and unknown at the time, unleash a vicious apparition. Years later, Ben (Stan) and Kelly (Greene) are living together in a huge house, and what Kelly doesn’t know is that Ben was part of the experiment, and the apparition has targeted her for all its nasty intentions. The creepy events escalate, Ben receives a warning from Patrick (Felton) who conducted the experiment with him, and things begin to get worse. With such a promising idea, things should have got rather spooky, but they don’t.
The Apparition pretty much fails on all accounts: the acting is terrible, and the so-called ‘relationship’ between Kelly and Ben is non-existent. They churn out their lines as if they were acting for the first time, it feels forced, staged and totally unnatural. They are too nice, too perfect, and you will struggle to connect with either of them. The only actor who gives the film some welly is Felton, who delivers a slightly unhinged, overly excited performance that is actually quite enjoyable. The scares are nonexistent, and not even a build up looking through a camera phone can conjure up even a slight jump. The apparition doesn’t ever get violent enough to warrant the viewer ever really having much to worry about, and the pacing is slow and painful. The script is bad, and the only really good scene is the final scene which is actually quite unsettling.
There are some good points though: the film looks impressive, and the production is top notch which suggests that director Todd Lincoln is finding his feet, and could have much more to give in future projects. There is a clear understanding of the horror genre, it’s just nothing feels very urgent, or intentional and the nice ideas are delivered weakly and without any real flare or passion. Greene looks good, and the director uses his camera to tease the male viewer on more than one occasion, and seeing Greene in the shower, or wearing skimpy outfits, at least gives some enjoyment. The camera never really reveals any nudity, but cleverly places itself at just the right height to tease, the bastard!
Some of the ghostly attacks are well thought out, just not delivered with much panache. A later scene involving Patrick and a chair should have worked nicely, but doesn’t. Some of the earlier, intriguing scenes showing a mysterious black substance has all curiosity ruined by bad scripting, and bad delivery of said script. At times the film becomes laughable, at others painful, and more often than not it is unbearable.
A pretty dire horror film (if you can call it that), and one which, if it really needs recommending, should only be viewed by those who have never really seen a horror before. Those initiated with the genre, and those who love the horror genre, will probably be insulted by this rubbish, so don’t bother with it.