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Apparition, The (2012)
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Okay, This One Just Sucks"
1 stars

The good news about "The Apparition" is that it only clocks in at a mere 74 minutes before the end credits kick in. The bad news is that the film makes viewers work for every single one of them before allowing them to stumble into the lobby to struggle in vain to figure out what in blue hell it was that they just watched. Seemingly produced specifically to play in empty auditoriums in the weeks bridging the summer blockbuster and fall award bait seasons, this is one of the most stunningly incompetent excuses for a horror film that I have ever seen and the only thing scary about it is the fact that some die-hard fans of the genre might take that warning as some kind of dare and check it out for themselves to see if it is really as bad as all that. Please, if you listen to nothing else that I ever say, hear me when I tell you that I am dead serious when I say that this is one of the most vapid moviegoing experiences that you will ever have in your lives. Imagine "Manos: The Hands of Fate" without the lucid plotting or tight narrative drive and you can begin to grasp just how incompetent this film really is. Actually, that comparison isn't really that fair because "Manos" was slapped together on a puny budget by a fertilizer salesman who wanted to try his hand at moviemaking while this one was made by theoretical professionals working with reasonably ample funds who, on the basis of what is on the screen, aren't even as good as the makers of the earlier film when it comes to slinging shit.

After no fewer than two introductory prologues--including one so incredibly superfluous to the rest of the proceedings that it seems to have been tacked on from another movie in a desperate bid to drag to film kicking and screaming to a feature length, the story proper opens as comely veterinary trainee Kelly (Ashley Greene) and her dopey techie boyfriend Ben (Sebastian Stan) head off to a remote housing development--the kind of place where one gets a definite moved-the-headstones-but-left-the-bodies vibe--to open up one of the homes for her mother to sell. They have begun to settle in when the expected weird things begin to happen--doors open and close of their own accord, dressers slide across the room, huge outbreaks of mold suddenly appear and the shower curtain becomes just opaque enough to keep the proceeding well within the confines of a PG-13 rating. After this goes on for what feels like 17 hours but which is probably only about 17 minutes or so, Kelly discovers that Ben hasn't been quite honest about his past. It seems that a few years earlier, he took part in a college experiment engineered by colleague Patrick (Tom Felton) designed to lure and capture a spirit and prove once and for all that ghosts really exist.

In news that will presumably shock none of you, things went bad--especially for Ben's old girlfriend, who got sucked through the walls for her troubles--and now it appears that the spirit is back to kill the people that freed it, anyone that they love and presumably any poor schmuck who happens along. Luckily, brainiac () has designed what he considers to be a foolproof plan to get rid of the spirit by devising a program to play the digital recordings of the original experiment backwards and send it back to hell, no doubt with "The walrus is Paul" ringing in its ears. As scientific theorems go, this sounds like the kind of thing that might inspire even the likes of Peter Venkman to scribble "See Me After Class" on school papers but our heroes decide that this is the best approach to take. Inevitably, all hell breaks loose in the slowest and least terrifying manner imaginable until the filmmakers finally decide to throw the towel in and end this hideous charade once and for all.

"The Apparition" was presumably launched hurriedly into production in an effort to cash in on the popularity of the ridiculous and ridiculously popular "Paranormal Activity" series by ripping off everything about them outside of the found footage gimmick (and even that gets a workout in a couple of scenes) but as shocking as it may sound (and this may be the only time in which the word "shocking" can legitimately be used in context with this movie), it actually does even less with them than the "PA" films did all by themselves. Aside from serving as a splendid showcase for Ashley Greene's legs, the film not only fails to do anything right but does everything so spectacularly wrong that it appears to have been made by people who have only heard about what goes into a proper horror film by osmosis. The story is such a mess in regards to even the most basic fundamentals of narrative that it will no doubt give hope to many aspiring screenwriters on the basis that if something as half-assed and incoherent as this can get produced and released, imagine what might be done with something that makes sense.

The direction by Todd Lincoln is so incompetent that it seems as though it has been made by someone who has never even seen a film before--the entire thing seems like a random assemblage of footage mistakenly retrieved from the cutting room incinerator (such as the nearly fifteen minutes of shopping for cacti and camping equipment at Costco that we are treated to in the opening scenes) and generates zero scares, tension, excitement or any known emotional reactions outside of boredom or incredulous laughter. Worst of all, it is almost criminally boring. "How boring?," you might ask. It is so boring that if you could magically transform this film into music, the entire thing would be a drum solo. It is so boring that a bit in which Kelly peels some linoleum off the floor is the closest that it comes to breakneck action. It is so boring that--well, let me put it this way. You know the saying about how something is as boring as watching paint dry? Well, you could take a picture of boring paint drying and post it on Facebook for people to stare at and it would still be more thrilling than anything on display here.

In conclusion, "The Apparition" has a few minor flaws--the fact that it exists being one of the more significant strikes against it--but before I go, I fear that I have to come clean about one thing regarding it so that it does not wind up haunting my own memories. Every year, to commemorate the anniversary of my birth, I try to find the oddest movie playing in the city and then convince friends, colleagues and loved ones to go see it with me--in the past, this has covered the gamut from such true classics as "The Shining" and "Vivre Sa Vie" to the demented depths of Tony Curtis in "The Manitou" and the Duff sisters in "Material Girls." This year, although it didn't fall exactly on the same date, the press screening for "The Apparition" was close enough and the film as a whole looked silly enough that, in a decision that I know recognize as perhaps being a bit rash, I chose to make it this year's selection. To those who attended, all I can do is say that I am sorry and hope that you can trust me to do better in the future. For those who couldn't make it, all I can do is say "Good call."

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=20774&reviewer=389
originally posted: 08/24/12 00:59:22
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User Comments

4/17/16 bvsflkbpy USA 4 stars
12/15/12 action movie fan contrived paranormal activity knockoff more silly than scary 2 stars
8/29/12 Delcia Pena The movie was wack. 1 stars
8/27/12 Alex What a mess... the trailer was scarier. Save your money. 1 stars
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  24-Aug-2012 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-Nov-2012


  DVD: 27-Nov-2012

Directed by
  Todd Lincoln

Written by
  Todd Lincoln

  Ashley Greene
  Sebastian Stan
  Tom Felton
  Rick Gomez
  Julianna Guill
  Luke Pasqualino

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