‘The Apparition’ Terrifies with Shocking Level of Incompetence

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CHICAGO – “The Apparition” is so incompetently made on every single level that it’s almost difficult to put its sheer awfulness into words. I’ll do my best. Which is more than what the producers of this pile of clichéd, derivative junk can say.

One could program a film festival in Hell of the awful films that were pure remakes or just rip-offs of Asian horror hits like “Ringu” or “The Eye” but didn’t we all think that trend had died out years ago? No one told Todd Lincoln, the debut writer/director who has made a quasi-Asian horror film so uninspired that it would be a compliment to say that it rips off better films. It doesn’t even really do that much. That would imply enough creativity to steal from superior work. “The Apparition” is a ghost of a movie, a bafflingly bad flick that approaches “The Room” levels of filmmaking ineptitude. You should be warned – this is not merely a sub-par horror flick. It is poorly acted, horrendously written, choppily edited, and lugubriously paced at even just 74 minutes before credits. It’s the longest 74 minutes you’ll spend in a theater this year.

The Apparition
The Apparition
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Gorgeous but remarkably dull Ashley Greene plays Kelly, a woman moving into a new California home with her beau Ben (a vapid Sebastian Stan). The scenes that set up these characters are a lesson in how NOT to introduce protagonists. Kelly and Ben eat Mexican food. Kelly and Ben go to Costco to buy a cactus. Kelly and Ben are so freaking boring that you pray for a ghost to haunt them just to spice up their lives and get this molasses-paced movie going. Seriously, I can’t imagine audiences who eventually stumble upon this junk at home not switching channels during the set-up that does absolutely nothing to endear viewers to its leads before setting a haunting upon them. At one point in the film, a cute neighbor dog wanders into the house, looks creepily into a corner of the laundry room, and dies. With the poor mutt’s ridiculous death, we’ve lost the most likable character in the story.

Before you can properly doze off, Kelly and Ben wake up one night to see all the doors in their new house have been opened. They slowly move around the house in the unnatural manner in which movie characters do to attempt to build tension but Lincoln and his team has no idea how to pace these scenes of impending ghostly activity to produce scares. I honestly wanted to scream at the screen, “Hurry up!,” “Do something!” My professionalism didn’t allow it.

The Apparition
The Apparition
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

After the boredom of the first act subsides, the haunting increases in intensity as the ghost of the cookie-cutter title is revealed to be a powerful force that Ben unleashed with a fellow student (Tom Felton) years ago. What exactly the force wants from Ben and Kelly is never made clear in the slightest because Lincoln never bothered to write that aspect of his script. Words like “malevolent spirits” are thrown around as if they’re scary without any further explanation. They’re not. “The Apparition” cobbles together scares from other films (there are two shots pulled DIRECTLY from “The Ring”) but does so like a singer of a cover band who has no idea what the lyrics actually mean to the songs he’s singing. There’s no purpose here. There’s nothing beneath the vapid surface.

I’m being too mean, right? It’s just a dumb horror movie. First, you should know that I’m awfully forgiving of dumb horror movies. I would say I’m even a fan of the genre. “The Apparition” does not qualify in any way. Like “Birdemic,” there are times when it approaches not even meeting basic tenets required to call it a film. There’s not a single scare, not a single laugh, and not a single character worth giving a damn about for a second. It is not just a bad movie, it is a truly horrendous one, the worst movie of the summer by quite a margin. I’d rather experience an actual haunting for 74 minutes than sit through it again.

“The Apparition” stars Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, and Tom Felton. It was written and directed by Todd Lincoln. It is rated PG-13 and opens on August 24, 2012.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

ziggy one of the best's picture

"The Apparition"

The only scarty part of this movie is that the public paid good money to see this junk

Manny be down's picture

No stars

It’s so bad, I give it no stars. It’s the non-scary movie of the year!

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