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The Apparition Review

By Joe Lozito

Who Scares?


The aggressively awful horror film, "The Apparition", is being marketed with the tagline: "Once you believe, you die". It's a pretty great concept - once you believe in something, it can kill you. It's reminiscent of "A Nightmare on Elm Street"; one of those primal, inescapable fears with enough potential to sustain a horror film franchise. In fact, it's such a good idea that I hope someone makes a movie about it someday. "The Apparition" is not that movie.

What "The Apparition" is, in reality, is a rare thing: a completely inept horror movie. And this is not a subjective judgement. Speaking strictly quantitatively: there is absolutely nothing to recommend about this film. In fact, "The Apparition" may solely be notable for being the second film this summer to prominently feature a Costco (it was used to much greater effect in "The Watch").

The script, by Todd Lincoln (who also directed in what is clearly his first effort) is insultingly written. In the opening scenes, the two bland, charmless leads, Ben and Kelly (Sebastian Stan from "Gossip Girl" and Ashley Greene from "Twilight"), struggle to establish their relationship via strained small talk about what to have for lunch. They live in a virtually abandoned Southern California community (it's an investment property for her parents) where, suddenly, freaky things start happening in their house. The doors inexplicably open, the lights flicker, mold appears, someone - or something - ransacks the closet! And don't even get me started on the neighbor's dog. It's all set to a propulsive score, by the duo tomandandy, that feels like it's in search of a better horror movie.

If these events seem random or unrelated (or, say, pilfered from better horror movies), well, they are. If you think Ben and Kelly should leave the house, well, they should. But no one, not one character - not even the owner of the ill-fated dog - behaves as a human might. It turns out, Ben is hiding a secret. Though it's never made clear what exactly he's hiding or, more importantly, why.

And nowhere in this whole pointless endeavor is there anything about "Once you believe, you die". We're told - via a tacked-on voice-over which is the very definition of "a cheat" - that the attacks have essentially occurred at random. Which means, the house isn't haunted, the screenplay is.

In fact, in the end, there is no explanation - none - for what proceeded. And if you see the film, and I hope you don't, you'll look back and think: there's not one thing in this film that had any reason to exist. And you'll be right. Least of all, the film itself.

What did you think?

Movie title The Apparition
Release year 2012
MPAA Rating PG-13
Our rating
Summary The only thing scary about this DOA horror attempt is that it ever got made.
View all articles by Joe Lozito
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