Starring Katrina Law, Jody Quigley, Lili Bordán, Tom Roy, Dave Droxler, Margo Trovei, Peter Postiglione, Airen DeLaMeter, Rick Foster, Rebekah Choudhury, Megan Rose and Michelle Magpiong.
Screenplay by Pete Cafaro and Andrew Kayros.
Directed by Quinn Saunders.
Distributed by Thundersmoke Media. 95 minutes. Not Rated.
There is nothing like a secluded, majestic-but-battered old house to lend itself to bumps in the night and tingles of creepy anticipation.
To be honest, the entire time I was watching the spooky indie ghost story Apparition, I was thinking that this gorgeous old farmhouse looked incredibly familiar, and not just from my nightmares. Turns out I used to live five minutes from the setting – the Penrose Strawbridge House, a historic farmhouse in the Philadelphia suburb of Horsham. Our offices are about a 15 minute drive from the old farm house and it is not nearly as secluded as the film leads you to believe. (Actually, it’s right down the street from an office park.)
However, while the personal connection with the house does give me a warm feeling for the movie, the film has to have the goods in order to recommend it. And for the most part it does.
Apparition is obviously filmed on a shoestring budget and is not always the most original story ever, however it gave me the chills and made me jump several times, and really that is all you can ask of a ghost story. Most of the characters were intriguing, and there were several very good supporting turns (particularly from local character actor Thomas Roy as a local who warns of the evil of the house.)
However Apparition (not to be confused with the 2012 fright film The Apparition) is basically the story of three characters and the haunted farmhouse. (Actually, the title on the screener I saw was Remorse, which may fit the subject a little better.)
Doug (Jody Quigley) is a Philadelphia-area businessman who decides to chuck the rat race and renovate a massive old farm house out in the middle of nowhere. He asks his girlfriend Lori (Katrina Law) to marry him and move into the house with him, but they have an argument at their engagement party and she is killed in an auto accident on the ride home.
Doug is bereft and withdraws from most of his life, leaving friends and work behind, throwing himself into the task of fixing up the huge old house. A local warns him that the place was originally owned by a woman who killed her servants with regularity, and there had been other mysterious deaths in the house over the years. Soon Doug starts hearing odd noises in the night and seeing unexplainable things.
At the same time he meets Jamie (Lili Bordán), a pretty local psych student who takes it as her job to help bring Doug back from the edge and save him. However by now, Doug is regularly seeing Lori around the house (an apparition? a hallucination?) and Lori seems quite jealous of Jamie.
Doug is slowly losing touch with reality, but honestly, Doug seems a bit off from the very beginning. He seems just a bit too fond of sneaking up on women and scaring them in the dark and he totally loses his shit when his fiancée’s ex shows up at their engagement party.
However, Apparition does take on a spooky and hazy dream logic and has some real chills. The mostly little-known cast sells the story and makes up for the film’s lack of an effects budget – actresses Bordán (Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome) and Law (Spartacus) and the aforementioned Roy (12 Monkeys) are particularly good at ratcheting up the suspense. Quigley’s lead character, who is disintegrating throughout the film, is a trickier role, but he mostly sells it well, only occasionally going over the top.
Is the Apparition the best ghost film out there? Of course not, but if you are a fan of spirits – and I am – then it is definitely worth a look.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: June 20, 2015.