The Apparition

A dumb concept, scripted and directed poorly, brought to screen lifelessly via subpar performances.

“The Apparition” begins with three college students conducting a parapsychology experiment. They’re attempting to reproduce the results of a séance held by a handful of people from the 1970s who got together and focused their attention on thinking about a recently deceased colleague. It resulted in the table that they were sitting around shaking and moving. Now, almost forty years later, the current batch of college kids intends to replicate the results. This time with the benefits of modern scientific monitoring equipment.

And so, they strap electronic head doohickeys on in order to amplify the electromagnetic thought pattern magic (NOTE: Not exactly what they said in the movie, but 100% comparable in terms of scientific legitimacy), so that the effects are multiplied, and they all stare real hard at this figurine.

It works. Their experiment weakens the whatzits between spirit planes (NOTE: Not the term they used, but it’s a very close synonym) and before you know it a Malevolent Spirit has crossed over into our world.

They believed in the spirit, and it appeared. In spite of the emphasis on this angle in the marketing campaign, this is pretty much the last you’ll hear of “belief” manifesting the spirit in the film. The movie is not a movie about a handful of young people trying desperately not to believe in ghosts, as was insinuated by the promos. Though I do have to empathize with the marketing department for realizing that THAT concept is 500x more clever than the dreck contained in this bag of turd.

What we do get here is little more than a standard modern haunted house story, with the experiment just being the explanation of the ghost’s genesis. One of the students who survives the experiment moves away with his girlfriend after surviving the incident, and is followed by the ghost. He proceeds to hide the truth from his girlfriend in spite of mounting poltergeist activity in the house. (What Ghost? C’mon…) In addition to a strange, ashen mold appearing everywhere, doors open, lights flicker, furniture moves, and the house is full of strange noises.

Unfortunately, all the “Scare Tactics” this movie employs are cribbed directly from other, superior movies. There were callbacks to any number of other horror films… “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Poltergeist”, “Paranormal Activity”, “The Ring”, “The Grudge”, there are more too. But this film isn’t paying homage, it’s just classlessly aping them, probably without even being savvy enough to know that it’s doing it. The slow escalation of events is boring, because you don’t care about the characters, and then the payoff is weak because they don’t have the talent to make it anything but. Things begin with mysteriously opening doors (ooohoohooooh…) and slowly proceed to where the spirit can basically just… rewrite the laws of physics and reality, but by that time it’s just stupid and you won’t care. I was never scared once (high degree of difficulty), but I was also never even startled (low degree of difficulty). But on the plus side of the ledger, I did give myself the facepalm at least a dozen times going “That is SO stupid!”

It’s a toss-up for me as to what I detested more, here. The “High Concept” itself is awful, as mentioned above. Then when it comes time to actually put things into motion, the script is weak; these events are about as stereotypical “Ghost Movie 101″ as you ever want to see. But the movie also stars a freaking horrible cast, who barely look old enough to be IN college, let alone smart enough to summon a freaking ghost by wearing doohamawhatizits and stuff. Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan are pretty bad here. They can’t emote to save their lives, so it’s too bad the story DIDN’T have their characters depend on not being scared in order to save themselves, they’d have been fine. Tom Felton flatlines as the leader of the initial experiment, the one who’s supposed to be the brains behind it all. And THEN! To top it all off, “The Apparition” is directed for shit, too. Since acting sucks across the board there needs to blowback on the director some at least, the editing bites, and the sound is overused and hackneyed. Seriously, I’m even ragging on the sound in this flick.

I hate to call him out, because it’s his first feature film, and you don’t wish it on people, but director Todd Lincoln has officially just had an inauspicious debut.

F

17 thoughts on “The Apparition

  1. Professor, How many F’s have you given? Wouldn’t want you to break the bell curve or anything! This is the type of movie I astutely avoid. I think you do too, except for blogging insanity! Still well written. There are better movies at film festivals everywhere looking for an audience. doohamawhatizits?

    • Yeah. LOL. The “Knock three times” video just seemed to fit in with the total dismissal I wanted to give this movie. LOL

      It’s been awhile. I think the last one was in the winter actually… kind of makes sense though, it’s been the summer. Most movies are gonna be at least decent if they work their way on to the summe release schedule, you know?

  2. “A dumb concept, scripted and directed poorly, brought to screen lifelessly via subpar performances.”

    Don’t hold back man, tell us how you really feel. :) I read that and thought “so… C- then?”

  3. Beautiful review. Had me laughing when I saw the “ghosts” you chose to decorate the article with.

    Now, just from the tone of your review here… tell me, was this a scale breaker? Were you tempted to invent an F- rating? :D

    • No…. that honor would have gone to “Bucky Larson” if I was gonna do it. I do tend to “reserve” my Fs for real shitbombs though. I give movies Ds way more often when I dont like ‘em. There has to be nothing redeeming about the movie at all.

      LOL. Those two ghosts are scarier than anything in this movie, BTW.

      • Roger that. I understand reserving the Fs, especially since you do have such a wide range of scores. I bust out the 1-stars a bit more often than you do Fs, I think… but even so, I give out twice as many 5-stars as 1. Other than Manos, the only time I’ve been tempted to hand out a 0 was Not Another Not Another Movie.

  4. Woah that sounds like one awful movie. I feel bad for Ashley Greene she is one of the very few people who managed not to be awful in Twilight films.

    • Well… havent seen those yet. LOL. But I have committed to live blogging a marathon of them when the inevitable “Box Set” eventually gets released :D

      Hope you’ll come back for the fun. LOL. My pain shall be FMR’s gain!

  5. So wait….are you saying you DIDN’T like the movie? Stop being so ambiguous with your comments. ;)

    Seriously, funny review Fogs. I saw the preview, thought it looked stupid too….thanks for taking another one for the team.

    • LOL. Smartass ;)

      This movie sucked so bad it’s hard to explain. It was dumb, first of all, right from the start. And then when they tried to scare you it was so freaking lame. Laughable, really. And then on top of it, the acting was bad throughout the entire thing!

      So yeah. At least I got a funny review out of it. :D Glad you enjoyed!

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