THE APPARITION (2012)
Starring Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton, Julianna Guill, Luke Pasqualino, Rick Gomez, Anna Clark, Tim Williams, Marti Matulis, Suzanne Ford, Melissa Goldberg and Meena Serendib .
Screenplay by Todd Lincoln.
Directed by Todd Lincoln.
Distributed by Warner Bros. 82 minutes. Rated PG-13.
Somewhere along the line, evil spirits stopped haunting houses and started concentrating on specific people. At least, that’s what Hollywood seems to believe. Or what they are trying to sell us.
The Apparition is a pretty generic new ghost thriller. It takes a touch of Paranormal Activity, mixes in a smidge of Blair Witch, adds a dollop of Poltergeist, a frisson of The Innkeepers and hires some MTV-cute stars to live the fantasy, stylishly.
Pretty much the only original idea here is that the filmmakers take on one of those “found footage” storylines but do not use the annoying shaky hand-held cam. Well, not too much, anyway, there are a few of those scenes, but in general the camerawork does not give you vertigo.
Of course, if the camera work doesn’t give you vertigo, perhaps the plotting will. After all, this is one of those few movies that has two prefatory scenes before getting to the business of the main story.
It starts with a home movie from 1973. (And yes, this is one of the annoying, jumpy hand-held sections, with the added annoyance of aging tricks like film scratches, warps and hairs in the lens.) A bunch of parapsychologists who are all dressed like The Brady Bunch are doing “The Charles Experiment,” trying to contact a ghost they have a bad painting of, in which he looks like a very stern John Turturro.
Flash forward 25 years. Three college students, Ben (Sebastian Stan of Political Animals), Pat (Tom Felton of the Harry Pottermovies) and Lydia (Julianna Guill of Glory Daze) decide to relive the experiment. Despite their best efforts and Pat’s surety that everything will be safe, it goes horribly wrong and Lydia disappears.
Years later, Ben is living in a nearly abandoned housing development with his too-gorgeous-for-words veterinarian girlfriend Kelly (Ashley Greene of Twilight). Suddenly they are hearing weird sounds, seeing weird lights, finding massive mold in the house and having furniture move by itself. And Pat keeps trying to contact Ben. Still, he doesn’t tell Kelly about his haunted experience.
When things finally start to get completely out of control, Ben finally contacts Pat, who apparently tried to reach the spirit again and just bollixed it even more. Still, he agrees to come down and help his friend get rid of his evil spirit.
Pat remains steadfastly sure of himself and his theories of parapsychology throughout and his friends follow him consistently to the very end, despite the fact that the guy is proven wrong every single time in hideous, deadly fashion. (His friends should realize that the guy is untrustworthy, he’s Draco Malfoy, ferchrissakes.)
For a ghost story, the shocks are mighty slow-moving, sometimes even nearly non-existent, like a scene where a neighbor girl’s dog goes into the kitchen, growls at the wall, lays down and dies. (For the record, people are fair game but it’s never okay to kill off small animals for cheap shocks.)
Then again, The Apparition can’t be looking to shock the audience too much, because one of the climactic scares is blatantly outed in the movie poster.
I’m a connoisseur of ghost films and The Apparition is not a particularly good one, though it does pack a few good jolts. If you catch it late on cable and can’t sleep, it may be worth a look. But it certainly isn’t worthy of going out to a theater to watch.
Copyright ©2012 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 24, 2012.