The Apparition is precisely what is wrong with horror films in today's cinematic landscape.
I'm not too sure why this film exists in its present state. It certainly isn't finished by any stretch of the imagination. It is a film riddled with inconclusive notions and artificial characters. If it had been thoroughly fleshed out, perhaps we might have been talking about a better experience at the theater this weekend.
First off, the film marks the first time Todd Lincoln has ever written and directed a feature horror film. Have you ever met anyone who puts 2 unnecessary letters in their first name? Usually, they tend to be a bit on the lame side. They use "bro" and "whoa" quite a bit. I once met a person at a rave party named Dickk when I was younger. I'm not making that up. Oh, and what about those people whose full names are made up by 2 first names? Like a Mike Michael I used to know. We actually called him Mike Mike. Fucking weirdo.
Anyway, Todd has a long way before he ever creates a successful film. There are just way too many flaws that he makes as the helmer of The Apparition to excuse him as merely a novice. Maybe this film suffered from severe studio tampering and most of its shittiness can't be blamed on Todd. However, he could've, at the very least, stamped whatever talent he may possess as an auteur somewhere in the film. Sadly, he does not. And his attempt at creating a scary PG-13 horror film is a failed one.
I would say that whatever interesting charm the film had going for it is lost rather quickly as it attempts to create a decent premise in its opening minutes. It begins with a found footage that explains how 5 students attempted to conjure the dead via computer based tools back in the 70's. Then, we are abruptly transported to some modern students, spear-headed by Patrick (Tom Felton from the Harry Potter films in an unfortunate career choice), attempting to do the same thing via more advanced computer based tools. Then, just when things start to get a little interesting....Ashley Greene and her annoying boyfriend, Ben (the annoying Sebastian Stan).
Now, I don't have anything against Ashley Greene...other than I wish I was actually physically against Ashley Greene. But, the film just basically takes great liberties in abruptly quick-cutting to wherever it damn well pleases. It never takes its time with the intriguing elements it presents and chooses to gloss over all of that in favor of "attempting" to establish creepy atmosphere. However, you can't do that with glossy camera work, artificial characters, a lame soundtrack and piss poor dialogue (at one point a female actually says: "...this is to help us focus our focus." WTF??!).
Now, back to Ashley Greene. She plays the central female role in the film. And she's mostly memorable for walking around her house in panties. However, we can't really blame her for the almost transparent performance she gives as most of the fault could be found at the hands of the script writer (Todd). She really is a passable actress in her own right...as long as she stays in the genre...and in her panties. She does exude a sort of magnetic (if not irritating) charm that could've easily been better molded to suit the film in the hands of a more capable director. Sadly, her hollow performance is probably the best thing the The Apparition has going for it. I mean that in the kindest way possible.
Well, that and the film's actual potential. But, potential does not a good film make. Seriously, I watched this film with a good friend of mine and after the credits rolled, we just went on and on about all the cool shit that the filmmakers (Todd) could have done to make this film amazing. Like, for example...the bit in the film about opening a door to some crazy supernatural force by way of high tech ghostbusters shit. That, in and of itself, could've been really cool...had they actually elaborated on those elements. There's actually a film that came out a couple months ago called Apartment 143 that does some of the same things much, MUCH better.
There's also a few elements that are introduced...like moldy nests and crawling Grudge-type girls that could've actually been much more effective. However, here those things are just relegated to random events that attempt to freak its audience out to no avail. For instance, there's one scene that utilizes one of those heat-vision cameras that are supposed to pick up supernatural beings that might have actually been truly hair-raising...in the hands of a more adept filmmaker. Unfortunately, the outcome to that particular scene is so tame and lackluster, we couldn't help but shake our head in disappointment.
And, while I won't spoil the film for you should you decide that the 10 dollars that you are holding in your pocket right now is an evil token that needs to be wasted on a film like this, I will say that the final moments take place in perhaps one of the most baffling locations of the year. A fucking Costco.
As a fellow lover of horror films, I cannot recommend The Apparition to anyone with a clear conscience intact. I probably can't even recommend this film as a rental. In fact, I was pretty much committed to awarding this film a half of a blood drop...until my good friend reminded me of Ashley Greene in her panties.
Thanks for reading,