Remember when you were in college and you and your friends thought you were some sort of half-assed Ghostbusters, and how you inadvertently unleashed an unholy entity into our realm that plagued you for years until it finally pulled you into its world of limbo? I hate it when that happens, and I hated The Apparition – a movie that puts the ‘suc’ in succubus.
Now to be fair, The Apparition is just a low-budget B-grade scare flick, so one can’t really compare it to classics like Poltergeist or The Shining, but even up against films on a lower scale, this movie is very amateurish and the acting is scarier than any apparitions you see.
The Apparition starts with some found footage of a 70s seance experiment that successfully captures some ghostly occurrences on film. Fast-forward to modern day and a group of college students are trying to recreate the experiment, but with all sorts of technological gizmos meant to help focus in on the same entity that was communicated with in the seventies. The contact attempt goes too well and one of the students is actually captured on film being sucked into another dimension.
The film then jumps forward a couple of years and one of the students, Ben (Sebastian Stan from Captain America), is now working as a television installation technician and living with his girlfriend, Kelly (Ashley Greene from the Twilight films), in her parents investment home in an isolated and newly built cookie-cutter community where there is only one other family. The couple starts experiencing odd happenings in the home and Ben keeps his previous ghost-hunting escapades a secret until Kelly comes across the video of the college ghost experiment Ben was involved with.
The couple then calls in Ben’s friend and co-college ghost-hunter, Patrick (Tom Felton from the Harry Potter Films), who helps them try to capture the poltergeist and send it back from whence it came. How? By playing the tape, where it was invited into our world, backwards and amplifying it throughout the house. Sounds like a solid plan. Right? Right?
This film is written and directed by Todd Lincoln and this is his feature film debut, but sadly, Mr. Lincoln has a long way to go before his work is going to be considered much more than a studio-financed student film. The Apparition is rated PG-13 and that is another problem. It is obvious that the language, nudity, violence and blood that is typically associated with a movie of this caliber has been scaled way back (or nonexistent) so that the studio can make more money from the kiddie-crowd. By doing this they are alienating the audience that would otherwise flock to a film like this – even a bad one.
There are plenty of silly moments throughout The Apparition, but they are not meant to be funny. The absurd death of the neighbor’s dog is probably the worst single movie scene I’ve witnessed this year, but the dead dog is revisited at a later point with a legitimate creepy and shocking moment – so somewhat redeems itself.
There ARE some scary scenes in this film, so on that level I have to give it credit. Is it dumb? Yes. Is the acting terrible? It’s so very bad. But despite its long list of problems, I still got goose bumps more than once in this movie – so The Apparition was not a complete failure – but very close to it.