The ApparitionThe Apparition
Director: Todd Lincoln

Cast: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton
Review by Brian M. Sammons

Plod, plod, plod, plod, plod, plod, techno babble, plod, plod, incredibly unsatisfying ending.

That, my friends, is this movie if it was broken down into interpretative dance and that makes me sad. Why? Because I really wanted to like this movie. Why? Because I am so sick of the majority of modern Hollywood horror consisting of remakes, reimaginings, and re-whatevers. Then there are the annual, rushed out sequels. Yes I’m looking at you, Paranormal Activity part who-gives-a-damn. So when a new horror movie comes out I really want to like it. I really want it to be good.

Sadly, that was not to be with this slow, tepid, toothless, flavorless, and completely unfrightening film. Sitting through it was a chore. I cannot tell you how many times I brought up the menu to check the run time to see how much more blandness I had to suffer through until it was over. And here’s the kicker, this “feature” film is only one hour and fourteen minutes long. Its runtime is padded with a staggering eight plus minutes of end credits. Normally that kind of thing makes me mad, but here I was relieved, it meant I could turn it off that much sooner. Oh and the very worst thing (and that’s saying a lot considering this movie) was that while it is undeniably a bad movie, it was not “so bad it’s good.” I actually sort of like those kinds of awful movies in a weird, masochistic kind of way. At least some enjoyment can be had from making fun of them if nothing else. But The Apparition was just “so bad it’s boring.” There was no enjoyment to be found in it anywhere and those are the absolute worst kind of movies to sit through. Make me laugh, make me cry, oh please make me scared, but just don’t bore me.

So Apparition, you bored me to tears. I do not like you. Please go away. Oh wait, I still have to review you. OK, let’s get to it then.

A group of college students try to recreate a famous séance in order to talk to a dead person. The guy in charge, played by the creepy blond kid from the Harry Potter films, spouts out some technical gobbledygook on how a machine will magnify their brainwaves so that three minds will appear to be 300 or some such nonsense. Cue some loud noises, some cheap looking CGI, and then smash cut to the title card Things then jump ahead a few years to find one of the students now in a relationship with a young woman and housesitting in a big, expensive house. After a far too long a time, a few spooky things start happening. And by spooky, in this movie I mean rather mundane and yawn inducing. You will thrill as you watch a garage door open while no one is looking. You will be on the edge of your seat as a dresser shifts a few inches by itself. You will need someone to wake you up when a neighbor dog walks into the couple’s house, lies down, and quietly dies. Now don’t get me wrong, I like a slow, steady buildup when it comes to my ghost stories, but here it seems like there’s never any payoff. Eventually things do begin to pick up, but by that time you are long past caring. Your senses will have been dulled by bad acting, poor pacing, and bland frights.

Eventually the couple has enough of the haunting shenanigans, so they get in touch with the creepy Potter kid once more, who has come up with a techno babble way to save the day that would make any Star Trek fan proud. Naturally this doesn’t work, and anyone watching will know this as the movie still plods along after the high tech resolution takes place, so that’s not really a spoiler or anything. When the end to this dull little movie finally comes it is both nonsensical and bland. Things just sort of end without rhyme or reason, but by that time I could care less. I was just happy it was over.

As for extras on this new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Warner Brothers … OK, confession time. I did not bother with the extras here. Sorry, I was so mad at this awful little film that when it was over I could not get it out of my BD player fast enough. I never do that, I always check the extras on a disc, so that right there should tell you all you need to know about how I felt about this one. To be fair, the movie looked great in HD and it looked to be rather packed with extras. So there is that. Yay.

So as you can probably tell by now, I really can’t recommend this movie to anyone. It’s a bland and thoroughly not scary horror movie. It does the Hollywood standard these days, which means it is populated with young pretty people instead of actors who can actually, you know, act! The direction is competent but boring. The story is sleep inducing, has stilted and laughable dialog, and is full of “science!” that is supposed to mean something but ultimately doesn’t. The CGI effects are thankfully used sparingly here, because when they are shown on screen they look pretty bad. I can honestly say that I did not like one thing about this movie Not. One. Thing. So save yourself some time and money and just don’t bother with The Apparition.

About Brian M. Sammons

Brian M. Sammons has penned stories that have appeared in the anthologies: Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, Monstrous, Dead but Dreaming 2, Horror for the Holidays, Deepest, Darkest Eden and others. He has edited the books; Cthulhu Unbound 3, Undead & Unbound, Eldritch Chrome, Edge of Sundown, Steampunk Cthulhu, Dark Rites of Cthulhu, Atomic Age Cthulhu, World War Cthulhu and Flesh Like Smoke. He is also the managing editor of Dark Regions Press’ Weird Fiction line. For more about this guy that neighbors describe as “such a nice, quiet man” you can check out his infrequently updated webpage here: http://brian_sammons.webs.com/ and follow him on Twitter @BrianMSammons.

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