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APOLLO 18 (2011)

>> Sunday, September 4, 2011

I can't quite remember when I heard about Apollo 18. What I do remember is immediately being drawn to it simply because of the tag line - 'There's a reason we've never gone back to the moon'. Like most, I've often wondered why Apollo 17 was the last mission and, more poignantly, why we haven't been back since. So regardless of the fact that this was undoubtedly a fictional piece of work - I was intrigued by the premise, the story and the method of cinematography. Plus, being a fan of the Paranormal Activity films made me that much more interested.

Occasionally I would look to see when Apollo 18 would be released and honestly, I didn't even notice it was pushed back several times. My summer has been filled to the brim with films to anticipate, so this was just another one on the list. However, the fact it was pushed back to one of the least busy movie weekends of the year should have been a healthy indication that it wasn't testing well. Fool me once...

The basic idea behind the film (or found footage, I should say) is that the Apollo 18 crew were sent to the Moon on a secret mission by the Department of Defense. The goal was to set up some receivers and basic monitoring equipment for an unknown reason. After discovering a Russian lander a couple of clicks from their base, the two astronauts on the surface (and one in an orbiter up above) believe they've found the real reason they were sent. However, it turns out a Russian conspiracy wasn't the only mystery lying in wait - the other mystery is the premise for the film. I'm strictly against spoilers so let me say that the antagonist in Apollo 18 is so ridiculous that it seems to be the afterthought of a really bored 8 year-old. Unfortunately, this only sealed the fate with Apollo 18 for me. There were far more problems before anything decent even started happening.

I had bigger issues with the pacing of the film. I often found myself bored and it didn't take long for me to get tired of the shaky camera gag. Even then, when it did work, it was only when scarier moments happened - and they were too few and far in between. This is where you can tell the difference between Apollo 18 a film like Paranormal Activity. Apollo 18 did it's best to slowly build the suspense and create 'edge of your seat' moments, but it failed at even that. We can't forget this is a scary movie that people are expecting to see. When it's anything but, you're left wondering if maybe you should have seen Don't Be Afraid of the Dark instead. For the record, no. In fact, at this point I'm not sure anything lately has come close to as good a horror movie as I would like. Maybe Fright Night?

Apollo 18 sadly gets an closed door. Despite my love for outer space, the moon and horror films I can't really say you'd have the best of times at this one. Maybe it was the mood I was in, or maybe it was the fact I saw the film at 1PM vs 10PM. It really shouldn't matter anyway. For now I'll stick with zombies and ghosts to get my horror ya-yas out. What I will respect about Apollo 18 is that it did only have a budget of $5 million. Than again, Paranormal Activity was made for just $11,000. Ya, never mind. Shark Night 3D anyone?

*Stills courtesy of The Weinstein Company


Wendy September 5, 2011 at 11:47 PM  

Awww this is disappointing! This movie looked SO GOOD but now I'm seeing bad reviews for it all over the place. Epic Lame!

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