Saturday, October 5, 2013

Film Review: Apollo 18 (2011)

Apollo 18 (Review)
United States/2011
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"The film comes in at about 1 hour and 16 minutes -- about an hour too much."

In December 1974, a crew is set to secretly land on the Moon for a special mission from the Department of Defense. The crew safely lands and completes their mission, but realize they may not be alone...

Apollo 18 is a found-footage SciFi Horror film. The story is as basic as it gets. The crew continue to explore the area and find that they may not be alone. As they try to leave, their flight is complicated and they are forced to wait for extraction. Eventually, they are attacked by an unknown species and must plan their own escape. There really isn't much going on, just talking and occasional exploration; there aren't many significant events, and the film moves slowly to a dull climax. The story ends practically the same as every other found-footage horror film out there -- abruptly and unfulfilling.

So, there isn't much going on in the story. Unfortunately, there isn't much terror, either. Apollo 18 isn't a scary film by any means. The suspense is almost nonexistent, except for a scene or two. There are a few jump-scares, mostly fake-outs, but there is one good one. The unknown entity in this film is weak -- it's unique, but has little screen presence and the design is forgettable, and many will laugh at the initially perceived concept. The scares, or the attempts at scares, are far and few in between. Boring story and lack of scares -- this was better off a short film or YouTube project.

The acting is mostly good, it is a bit overdone towards the end, but it's mostly competent and enjoyable. I really liked the set and costume design, it was interesting and felt authentic. Unfortunately, the direction and writing is poor, as the film feels bland from beginning to end. The found-footage is often too choppy visually, and the purposeful audio "dialogue out of sync" mixing is confusing for the storytelling and unnecessary. There isn't much else to say about the technicalities.

Overall, Apollo 18 is a short film poorly disguised as feature length. The pacing is slow, without suspense, scares, or payoff; the story is boring and uneventful; and, the best part of the film -- the costume and setting design -- is under-and-poorly utilized. The film comes in at about 1 hour and 16 minutes -- about an hour too much.

Score: 2/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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