"The Apparition" is Haunted by Inept Direction and Pacing Review

The Apparition is a textbook example of just about everything that’s wrong with modern, high-budget horror films. Instead of spending time developing the mood and innovating new, scarier ways to bring the epitome of human fear and anxiety to life, Director Todd Lincoln seems to have spent his budget on a few recognizable faces like Ashley Greene (The Twilight Saga), Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The First Avenger), and Tom Felton (The Harry Potter Series). Unfortunately, the novelty of seeing these actors scramble about in a house where strange things happen—without establishing enough of a menace or evil presence (flickering lights and shaking the camera don’t cut it) or developing the hapless victims to a point where we’ve even bothered to learn their names—wears off very quickly. By the time they explain why it’s happening, the audience has likely long since stopped caring either way.

After a botched attempt, led by Patrick (Felton), to contain an evil force leaves the team in varied states of disarray, Ben (Stan) moves on and into a house with his girlfriend Kelly (Greene). Unfortunately, it seems that just because he decided he was done with the spirit they conjured doesn’t mean the spirit is done with him, and soon a number of odd things start to happen in the house. The appearance of odd growths, ominous shadows, and hostile but invisible hands at work leave Kelly and Ben little choice but to consult with Patrick as to what’s really going on. The answer is obviously not in their favor.

The problems with The Apparition are nothing new: an evil spirit wants to terrorize the living, it’s the victim’s own fault for seeking out the force, and they make stupid decisions that no rational person would ever make over and over again. Where the film should have excelled considering the polish it boasts is in the visual effects, but even these are executed poorly with the highlight of Todd Lincoln’s inability to capture terror on film culminating in a scene where one of the characters is sucked, chair and all, into a closet only to grab onto the doorframe in one of the most unconvincing displays of fear and fighting for one’s life you’ll likely ever see. If a film can’t even convince us the characters within are afraid, why should we worry for them for even a second? The failure ultimately falls on Director Lincoln for not coaching halfway decent performances from his otherwise talented cast, or not knowing a bad take when he sees one.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

The combo pack includes the film on Blu-ray, DVD, and as an UltraViolet digital copy. As far as extras go, the Blu-ray includes featurettes that pander to those absolutely dead set on believing in the paranormal like one about the “true” causes behind such events, a spotlight on Asheville, North Carolina for its many “haunted” sites, a piece on Ghost Hunter Joshua P. Warren attempting to recreate the event at the start of the film (guess how that goes), and the actors discuss it in another extra.

"The Apparition" is on sale November 27, 2012 and is rated PG13. Horror. Written and directed by Todd Lincoln. Starring Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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