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The Apparition (2012)

  Tags: apparition, Ashley Greene, college, Dark Castle Entertainment, experiment, ghosts, haunting, Julianna Guill, Luke Pasqualino, psychological, Sebastian Stan, Suzanne Ford, thriller, Todd Lincoln, Tom Felton

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (6 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 

Rating #: 
Todd Lincoln
82 minutes
Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Luke Pasqualino, Suzanne Ford, Julianna Guill, Tom Felton

Have you seen the tagline for The Apparition? You know, the one that reads, ONCE YOU BELIEVE, YOU DIE? Awesome, okay. So have you also seen the trailer? You know, where the story gets explained as a couple dealing with a supernatural haunting that manifests itself because the human mind believes there’s a supernatural haunting? Alright, cool. Well, just ignore all that because none of that is in the movie. And while it’s nothing new for a trailer to present material that’s ended up on the cutting room floor, it’s an entirely different story to slice off the film’s main premise, leaving the final product to be nothing short of a mangled, cut and paste mess.

Taking a not so subtle nod from the original Paranormal Activity, The Apparition presents us with a ridiculously good-looking “everyday” couple that has recently moved into a brand spanking new home, only to be stalked and tormented by an unseen (and not unseen, depending on what movie Apparition feels like ripping off for that particular scene) entity that’s linked to one of their pasts. Throw in a brief appearance from a Harry Potter vet (who’s aging pretty terribly, BT-Dubs) to give some kind of nonsensical plot explanation about magnetic brain waves and, yeah, there you go.

From the moment this film was announced, I wasn’t exactly expecting much. Dark Castle has a hit or miss filmography, with an emphasis on the miss, and it was clear that they were aiming solely for the younger teen crowd. And despite all of this, there’s actually some interesting ideas kicking around in The Apparition, but it felt like the filmmakers (or the studio for that matter) didn’t have any confidence in the movie they were making. In one of the actually tense moments of the film, Ashley Greene is walking around the pitch-black house with nothing but a thermal scanner. It’s well shot and well paced out, but is ruined by the soundtrack of a fast beating heart. When you’re able to pull of a scary, heart-racing scene, you don’t have to remind the audience that it’s a scary, heart-racing scene.

The Apparition also suffers from an identity crisis. As I mentioned earlier, Paranormal Activity heavily influences the film, especially when it employs the use of security cameras around the house, but then there’s these random Asian infusions. Most obvious being scares taken directly from The Grudge and Dark Water. They’re mixing two very different sub-genres of ghost movies, with a different set of rules for their ghosts, so there’s no real consistency of what the title apparition can actually do and what it’s trying to accomplish.  And who knows, that might even have something to do with the fact that the movie was hacked to shit.

When a movie sits on a shelf for a while, it rarely bodes well for the finished film. And when said movie gets dumped into a handful of theaters during the dog days of summer by a major studio, something is most definitely afoot. The Apparition has interference written ALL over it. Whether is was studio or producer meddling is something we’ll probably never know, but somewhere along the way, someone decided the plot about ghosts existing merely because you believe they do was no longer needed. As a result, the entire third act is a sloppily slapped together disaster. Transitions are awkward and the finale felt like pieces of bigger scenes edited together with last minute effects and a voice over. The most interesting thing about this voice over, however, is the fact that it’s a speech given by a character earlier in the film, only this time it’s twice as long. Clear evidence of severe cuts made earlier in the film as well.

The Apparition isn’t an entire waste, though. Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, and Thomas Felton all come off relatively well in an otherwise abysmal film. Ms. Greene spends a good couple scenes wandering around the house in lingerie for no reason whatsoever. So yeah, there’s that. The score by tomandandy, while occasional out of place, is really strong as well. Some of the more subtle scares are relatively affective, and got a strong reaction out of the audience in the theater I saw it in. Unfortunately, any legitimacy in these scenes is cheapened by the blatant product placement that’s prevalent throughout the entire run time.  I got news for you, Dark Castle. People who are as phenomenally good-looking, and in such great shape as Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan do NOT get that way by eating McDonald’s. Just saying.

While it presents some ideas and scares that occasionally work surprisingly well, the filmmakers’ lack of confidence in what they’re making and an OBVIOUS last minute hack job prevent The Apparition from being anything more than a forgettable mess.

Posted on September 3, 2012 - 7:45pm | Johnny D