The Apparition – Film Review
You’d think I would have had enough of shitty, empty horror movies this week.
Apparently I need to be a bit more discerning in my search for the next Absentia.
Or at least have the sense to stay away from anything featuring a Twilight refugee in a lead role.
My bad, guys.
TL;DR The Apparition is just crap. It’s not original, scary, exciting or compelling in any way. Ashley “Alice from Twilight; there is nothing else interesting about me” Greene and Sebastian Stan are not made to be horror leads. 1 out of 5 stars.
The plot is some shit about a summoned ghost/demon/apparition (ah ha!). Ashley is dating Sebastian, who she doesn’t know accidentally conjured the entity a while ago due to being a reckless college student. The entity dissolved his then-girlfriend, so dude is trying to put it behind him. But when shit start’s getting haunted, he finds out that the surviving members of their séance group (led by Draco Malfoy. I know I’ve said I’ve never seen a Harry Potter movie, but cultural osmosis has informed me of who he is. Calm down) did the experiment again because why not? Now it’s a race against time to escape the entity.
They don’t. I’d ordinarily bemoan the “kill ’em all” ending, but I didn’t care about these characters enough for that to be an issue.
And while the characters are pathetic, they’re not the greatest problem with this movie. The ambiguity is.
The Apparition starts with some scrawl about how there was a thing in the 70s called The Charles Experiment that had something to do with a bunch of paranormal researchers trying to contact their dead colleague (Charles). Then that cuts away and we never find out what it was really about. Sebastian and Draco’s group does the experiment twice more, and we still don’t get a clear picture of what they expected to happen and what they’re actually doing.
They just sit around a table with funky headgear, with a few expository lines about brainwaves. Just fucking tell me what happened with the original Charles Experiment.
This vagueness might have worked if the scares or atmosphere were good enough.
Why I hate this movie:
They weren’t, fyi. Just thought I’d better clear that up.
The characters get no development. Sebastian and Ashley have close to no personal attributes, apart from “young” and “pretty” (though that would be contentious for ol’ frog face). Ashley gets a few brief moments where she demonstrates some genre savviness, and I must admit that both of them are impressively proactive about getting out of the house. But we already know that the entity is haunting them, not the house, so my satisfaction with their behaviour was dulled.
Conversely, the first time something really happens is fucking bizarre. They fall asleep in front of the TV and wake up to all the exterior doors to the house wide open. They’re barely even fazed by it. They’re just like “lol, this house is weird.” They give a token call to the neighbourhood security and Sebastian installs security cameras the next day, but, like wtf? The fact that they were relatively intelligent about things afterwards makes this oversight even worse.
The entity kills a neighbour’s dog. By making it lie down peacefully and then die off-screen. If you’re gonna kill the dog, just do it.
Sebastian procrastinates about getting the entity shit sorted for way too long. If he was that scared of it, he should have acted quicker.
The entity tries to smother Ashley with a sheet. Like, by just wrapping her in it tightly. A single sheet. I don’t know if I’m just a massive, impoverished bogan, but I can breathe pretty okay through the sheets I own. Maybe it’s a thread count thing?
The final attack that Ashley, Sebastian and Draco do on the entity is just a mish-mash of sound effects and computer visualisations. It’s not scary or impressive at all.
Speaking of poor sound, the score for The Apparition is constantly overblown. Tone it down, guys. It’s like the movie is literally shouting at us “be scared!” No.
Oh, and the entity is a bit of a dick to Ashley. She wasn’t even involved in the experiments. Rude.
Reasons to watch:
At least the demon bucks the usual trend of “do whatever because chaotic” and actually has a purpose. It wants to bring itself and its demon friends into the living world, so it attacks humans to learn how to defeat them. And it does defeat our main characters, so I guess props to ol’ demon head, hey?
The way it kills people is pretty cute, too. It sucks them into walls (which we get to see happen to Sebastian and his old girlfriend). Very Bridgette Wilson from House on Haunted Hill (one of my favourite 90s horrors). And The Apparition actually shows it happening, and it doesn’t suck. Nice.
It also sucks a truck into the ground, but considering that the movie is so devoid of any action at all, I’ll allow it.
One of the entity’s tactics is to fuck up all the clothes in Ashley’s closet. I love it, you nasty bitch.
I’ll give Ashley some kudos for insisting they get out of the house, and then later going to a hotel in an attempt to escape the entity. Girl’s been watching her Insidious. I guess it’d be too much to ask a horror movie to allow their good behaviour to be rewarded? No, then the plot would be over. Nevermind.
Ashley and Sebastian play some Street Fighter IV, and in an interesting subversion, he plays as sterotypical female choice character Chun Li (that’s who The Falcon chose), and she plays as the most unladylike Blanka. And she wins. It is the only true subversive moment in the entire movie.
Oh, and the neighbour girl whose dog was killed doesn’t forgvie Ashley. I lol’d.
Why would anybody waste $17 million making this shit? But hey, maybe it’ll give Sebastian Stan the push he needs to get back on Once Upon a Time. What the fuck happened to Jefferson, anyway? 1 out of 5 stars.