Sunday, October 6, 2013

Film Review: The Apparition (2012)

The Apparition (Review)
United States/2012
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...feels like a fan-acted compilation of someone's favorite horror set-pieces."

Ben (Sebastian Stan) is involved in a supernatural experiment that ends tragically. Later, Ben has moved in with his girlfriend, Kelly (Ashley Greene), and they are settling in. Eventually, the pair experience unusual events of a possible haunting...

The Apparition is a simple haunted house ghost story. It pretends to be a much deeper and complex ghost story, but it never sufficiently uses any of its concepts to create a unique story. Basically, Ben and Kelly spend a couple of nights in their home where odd things occur -- doors open alone, furniture is moved, unusual markings are left, etc. -- then, they leave for a moment only to realize the haunting has followed them. Finally, they try to beat the haunting with some underdeveloped concept of contacting the dead. It ends at Costco where you'll find great prices on camping equipment and cacti. (It's a movie reference, I don't actually know their pricing.)

The story is bland -- soulless, lifeless, purposeless. The Apparition lacks significant events and plot points, along with actual character; every event feels so minuscule, causing every reaction to feel overdone -- how can you feel relief and believe you'll "finally" live a normal life when the haunting is treated like a simple bump on the road? The characters are nonexistent, I actually couldn't remember their names and their respective roles; unfortunate considering much of the first act attempts to build character through boring conversations and interactions.

As far as scares, The Apparition is scare-less and unoriginal. First, any avid horror fan will recognize most of the scares from many other films. This isn't a case of influence or "borrowing", this is a simple case of copy-and-paste syndrome; in fact, The Apparition, with its lack of significant story events, feels like a fan-acted compilation of someone's favorite horror set-pieces. The problem with the scares consists of the following: the tension is nonexistent, the jump-scares are poorly timed, setup, and executed, and... there isn't much else. There is one scene I liked, which had some solid (borrowed) visuals and an impressive transition -- but only one scene. Expect poorly executed elements from old-school, contemporary, and foreign (specifically Asian) horror.

Going into the film, I didn't know much about the story or cast. However, I read so much about the hot and attractive lead in the Youtube comments and other forums, how she makes the film worth it and so on. Well, Ashley Greene is the lead in this film and she's good looking, don't get me wrong, but her looks don't reach my self-made hype, which likely came from her Twilight fans; her performance is good, nothing special, but not terrible, either. The same goes for Sebastian Stan and his performance -- nothing impressive, or depreciative. The real offender is Todd Lincoln with his copy-paste, lazy writing and almost nonexistent direction.

Overall, The Apparition is a decently acted horror film with one solid scene. The rest of the film is filled with cliché, boring characters doing cliché, boring things without significance; the "scares" are copied and pasted from other horror films, but Todd Lincoln forgot to copy a vital element in each -- THE HORROR! Avoid this film unless it appears on a instant streaming service, don't pay directly to watch this film.

Score: 2/10
Parental Guide: Some violence.

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