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Worth A Look: 6.25%
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Pretty Bad: 6.25%
Total Crap87.5%

2 reviews, 4 user ratings

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Apparition, The (2012)
[] Buy posters from this movie
by William Goss

"Snore Tactics"
1 stars

Look closely, and the potential that likely got 'The Apparition' its initial greenlight still lurks around the edges of the endlessly tedious end result. A sinister entity that haunts the squeaky-clean suburban home of Kelly (Ashley Greene, the 'Twilight' series) and Ben (Sebastian Stan, “Gossip Girl”) in the form of a persistent mold? Okay. The power of imagination to not only manifest ghosts, but fight back against them? Cool. Supernatural college experimentation bearing all the weight of a regrettable kegger? Alright. The tragic end of a past relationship putting a blemish on a new one? Sure.

Alas, precious little of that psychological or paranormal fodder has made it into theaters this weekend. Two years after being shot, the current cut (running a scant 82 minutes -- about 75 sans credits) reeks of post-production meddling; take away two needless prologues, the later repetition of the second one with only a smidge of difference, a nonsensical money-shot coda, and establishing shots of Southern California galore, and there’s maybe an hour of scenes that don’t repeat one another. Within that hour still lie plenty of jolt beats that echo other, better haunted house movies -- I hope you missed the stringy-haired contortionist ghost of many a J-horror remake, because it’s back, baby! -- and an unwittingly critical association between wholesale stores like Costco and literal Purgatory.

A conceit with which writer/director Todd Lincoln’s feature debut is being marketed is the idea that ghosts and such only manifest themselves on sheer power of belief on part of the living. It’s a pitch that allows room to roam in terms of screams and themes, but that chief plot point has been all but excised in service of counter-wiping, dresser-moving, plant-killing shenanigans. Doors, garage or otherwise, open themselves. Hangers twist themselves. Security cameras move themselves. Even when a neighbor’s dog prances into their home to ominously growl and suddenly die, it unfolds with all the tension of a shrug and is followed up by the neighbor’s young daughter intoning “your house killed my dog” with laughable portent.

Greene and Stan are primarily pretty above all else, each getting to show some skin before growing all afluster over the mounting phenomena, only to be later joined by college pal/fellow hauntee Patrick (Tom Felton of Harry Potter fame) and his metric ton of techno-babble. The more frightened each of them get, the worse their performances become, saddled with no-duh dialogue and an all-around allergy to conventional logic, and an early suggestion by Kelly that she likes being the hero in her own story ultimately proves fruitless. Even worse, a climactic voiceover that goes out of its way to explain the general lack of logic to all which preceded it manages to dumb things down even further (to remain vague, it’s suggested that a character documented ahead of time that they knew their third-act gambit to ward off evil spirits would likely prove ineffective, as this spirit has no quantifiable measure to its actions, but went ahead and did it anyway).

At the very least, all this nonsense is carried out with Daniel Pearl’s decent cinematography and an eerie score by the reliable tomandandy, but there’s no getting around the fact that the film as it stands now feels like mediocrity whittled down to ineptitude. Producer Joel Silver’s Dark Castle banner has had a steady record at cranking out moderately enjoyable horror fare -- 'Splice,' 'Orphan,' 'House of Wax' -- in recent years, but one can’t shake the feeling that some sinister entity went below and beyond to ensure that 'The Apparition' fell among their worst efforts yet.

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originally posted: 08/25/12 06:42:42
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User Comments

4/17/16 bvsflkbpy USA 4 stars
12/16/12 action movie fan contrived paranormal activity knockoff more silly than scary 2 stars
8/29/12 Delcia Pena The movie was wack. 1 stars
8/28/12 Alex What a mess... the trailer was scarier. Save your money. 1 stars
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  24-Aug-2012 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-Nov-2012


  DVD: 27-Nov-2012

Directed by
  Todd Lincoln

Written by
  Todd Lincoln

  Ashley Greene
  Sebastian Stan
  Tom Felton
  Rick Gomez
  Julianna Guill
  Luke Pasqualino

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