Trying to decide which movie to see this weekend? Be sure to keep “The Apparition” off of your list.
It begins with grainy film stock and chiaroscuro lighting to simulate the appearance of actual documentary footage of a 1973 incident, called “The Charles Experiment,” in which a team of paranormal psychologists try to summon the spirit of a deceased colleague. Far too quickly the scene shifts to modern-day where a group of college students are trying to re-create the experiment. Among these students are “Harry Potter” alum Tom Felton and Julianna Guill from “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” Immediately after the experiment begins, something goes terribly wrong and Guill is sucked into a wall never to be heard from again.
Presumably a few years later, we’re introduced to a young couple – Kelly (Ashley Greene), a veterinary student, and Ben (Sebastian Stan), a home-entertainment tech guy – who have just moved into suburban investment property in the middle of nowhere that’s owned by Kelly’s mom.
In a standard haunted-home plot build, odd things begin happening around the home – from all the doors opening on their own in the middle of the night, to the neighbor’s dog mysteriously dying in the laundry room, to a strange, black mold-like substance growing under the house. But of course the couple stays put, and allows the craziness to continue.
Loaded with potential, “The Apparition” fails at every turn. Time and again a scene is well set-up for a scary moment–the music drops, the lights darken, the audience holds their breath–and nothing. Normally, I hate scary movies for making me gasp and jump, but that never happened in this one. Not even once.
The verdict: “The Apparition” is far more horrible than horrifying. It’s clearly meant for teens and pre-teens (thus its PG-13 rating) that haven’t seen many horror films and thus have little expectations. Wait for this one to come to video, and even then feel free to save your time and skip this one altogether.
Opened: August 24, 2012
Director: Todd Lincoln
Starring: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan