RATED: ★ ★ ★ out of 5 buckets | WORTH: DVD or Rental
Rated: PG-13 Terror/frightening images and some sensuality
Release Date: August 24, 2012
Runtime: 1 hour 22 minutes
Director: Todd Lincoln
Writers: Todd Lincoln
Cast: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton, Julianna Guill, Luke Pasqualino, Rick Gomez, Anna Clark
SYNOPSIS: Plagued by frightening occurrences in their home, Kelly and Ben learn that a university's parapsychology experiment produced an entity that is now haunting them, feeding on the couple's fear and tormenting the couple no matter where they run.
REVIEW: Todd Lincoln, writer/director/producer of documentaries and shorts like Leave Luck to Heaven, takes his first hack at the horror genre with The Apparition. In this fright film, Lincoln preys upon the concept of belief. If you belief that something supernatural is tormenting you, that belief will make the presence manifest and able to kill you.In the 1970s, a group of people attempt to conjure the spirit of Charles Reavers. During the seance, strange things occurs and furniture bounce. Notated as the "Charles Experiment", no one had attempted to repeat the experiment until years later when a group of university parapsychology students attempt to recreate the same conditions using more modern technology. Unfortunately, student Patrick (Tom Felton, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Lydia (Julianna Guill, Crazy, Stupid, Love), and Greg (Luke Pasqualino, The Borgias) release something into our world that they cannot control. In Southern California, in the Dulce Crest subdivision, Kelly (Ashley Greene, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1) and Ben (Sebastian Stan, Captain America: The First Avenger) spend their days at in-between jobs and their nights house-sitting for Kelly's mother's investment property. One night, while Kelly and Ben sleep, the alarms appear to have been by-passed, the doors swing wide open, and a strange mold begins to spread across parts of the house. Soon, the seemingly harmless noises and occurrences become something more sinister and tormenting. As a malevolent force becomes violent, even the help from Ben's college friend Patrick may not be enough to stop the apparition from manifesting completely in our world.
The Apparition is the first full fledged horror flick of the fall season. ParaNorman may have arrived in theaters first, but its stop-motion silliness really can't be counted for true horror. First time full feature writer/director takes a stab at a genre that appeals to be very dedicated fan base. With just as many good films as bad, as much good suspense as poorly executed slop, it takes an unique and great story to cut through the nocturnal noise. With echoes of Silent Hill, Pulse, Drag Me To Hell, and Insidious, The Apparition is not anything new, but is handled with care.
Set in the Southern Californian new unfinished subdivision of Dulce Crest, Kelly and Ben set up residence in a half-finished culdesac with only one other house sold to a father, daughter, and dog. With modern homes on a sprawling arid landscape, 'For Sale' signs hanging on posts in light breezes, and shopping completed in big box, bulk stores, the setting for a malevolent force seems too ordinary. Where are the historical old buildings, the dark cabins in the woods, and the indian burial grounds? Instead we are faced with an ordinary house on an ordinary curving street, next to other homes with their own ordinary facades. Insidious, Poltergeist, and the Paranormal Activity franchise make best use of the supernatural set within the mundane and the everyday. Lincoln makes great use of long still camera work on the house's exteriors and slow expanding tracked shots of the interior, the tower power lines humming in the background, making even stuccoed facades something more foreboding.
In addition to solid camera work that adds dread to the most ordinary of landscapes and structures, Lincoln and team assembled a solid young cast with plenty of experience on major projects. Ashley Greene has The Twilight Saga franchise on her resume, but must embody a girl unsure of her belief in the supernatural. Sebastian Stan worked opposite the Star Spangled Avenger Captain America as Bucky Barnes, trading in the Second World War for a taste of suspenseful suburbia. Tom Felton follows up his career making Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series with another solid role as the obsessed parapsychologist and desperate Patrick.
The Apparition is dreadful with a solid cast and story, but fails to deliver on the big scares. I will give Lincoln props for one great blind-sided jolt, but the rest falls into the suspense category not the horror category. The music by 'tomandandy' uses buzzing hums and horns instead of the typical screeching strings section to raise the foreboding in a different manner.
Todd Lincoln writes and directs The Apparition, bringing his first full-length feature efforts to theaters after the hype of the summer tentpole blockbusters. Suspenseful, but not really scary, the film redeems itself with good cinematography, an experienced cast, and a few good story sequence twists. The Apparition will probably not be in your horror DVD library as a favorite, but it is a solid effort.