The Apparition (Rated PG-13) 2 Stars09-12-12-movie.jpg

The Apparition (86 minutes) isn’t as bad as everyone is making it out to be. At the end of the day, yes, it sucks hardcore, just not as bad as everyone says. Clearly the picture had no studio backing since it was released in the August dead zone, and the flaws show pretty clearly. But this movie could have been really good. If only Todd Lincoln had a little more experience as a writer and/or a director. If only Ashley Green could actually act. If only Tom Felton’s British accent didn’t sound so fake! Which, wasn’t he born in England? He didn’t pile it on this much in Harry Potter.

What we have here is the redheaded stepchild of Poltergeist and Insidious, with a smattering of Paranormal Activity. If the movie had spent some more time exploring the premise hinted at by its tagline (“If you believe, you die.”) we would be in full-on famous original Nightmare on Elm Street territory, where forcing yourself to disbelieve in the monster that is trying to kill you might save you — or might not. That would have been cool. I wanted to see that movie. Instead I was forced to sit through this one. In which belief in the thing that is coming to get the characters has nothing to do with whether or not you die. Stupid, misleading tag line.

We begin with a completely nonsensical scene, shot in classic Dark Castle scratchy flashback style. Six people are conducting an old-school parapsychology experiment. What does this have to do with what happens later? Nothing whatsoever. It is cheap and gimmicky filler designed to add a few precious minutes to the barely feature-length running time.

Moving into the next scene, three college students named Patrick, Ben and Lydia (Felton, Sebastian Stan and Julianna Guill) are mumbling some nonsense about how capturing their attempt to contact the dead on film will “prove” that ghosts exist. Yes dears, and watching The Avengers proves that super-powered beings are battling aliens from another dimension. Anyway, that doesn’t go well. I bet it would be really exciting to see the aftermath of the failed experiment. The writer doesn’t agree, and we move onto the next scene.

Kelly (Green), Ben’s girlfriend, has moved into her parent’s house in an almost deserted neighborhood (nice nod to how the bottom dropped out of the housing market). There is at least an attempt to build some suspense, as mysterious burn marks and mold stains begin to appear all over the house. It gets downright ominous, leading Ben to start installing security cams. One would think he might return the increasingly frantic calls from Patrick regarding the ghost experiment, or at least tell Ashley that she might want find a couple of priests, but no.

Predictably, when things get super-duper spooky the cat gets let out of the bag, and poor, stupid Kelly kicks Ben out. So she can face the nasty, mean, spirit thingy alone without knowledge or assistance. A real sharp cookie is our Kelly. That particular New Year’s resolution lasts until Mr. Vaguely-human-shaped-scary-thing shouts Boo! into her fancy heat sensitive camera; then Ben is back in the game!

Patrick reappears and the power of his British accent seems to banish the ghost back into the ether. Or does it? I would tell you to go see for yourself, but you probably shouldn’t spend any of your hard-earned cash encouraging Todd Lincoln to make any more movies.

Now showing at Wynnsong 7, Carmike 12 and Carmike Market Fair 15.

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