Friday, August 24, 2012


This hackneyed horror entry from first time writer-director Todd Lincoln is nothing but a painfully derivative attempt at a spooky scare fest. After a nonsensical prologue, "The Apparition" introduces us to the film's two stars, most notably Ashley Greene of the "Twilight" franchise for whom this is clearly a vehicle. She plays Kelly who just recently moved in with her boyfriend, Ben (Sebastian Stan), which is surprising considering how little chemistry they exhibit together. In the film's obligatory everything's just fine opening, Kelly obsesses over wanting a cactus for the house. It's unclear where her sudden need for the plant even comes from, and yet when the couple makes a trip to Costco, she picks up a tiny little cactus. You may be wondering, why is this seemingly insignificant thing given so much attention? Kelly is on the phone with her mother back at the house with the cactus sitting on the desk before her. And then it dies for, like, no reason. Cue horror movie mode.

If that doesn't clue you in to the kind of writing we're dealing with in this movie, then I don't know what would. There's something haunted about the house, and when Kelly strips down for a PG-13 friendly shower scene, a decaying black mold substance appears on her bar of soap. A similar substance appears elsewhere in the house, but it turns out this otherworldly force isn't trying to haunt their home but rather invade Kelly. Sound familiar? Refer back to James Wan's ingenious "Insidious" where the child was haunted, not the house.

The source of this black mold poltergeist turns out to be a seance experiment conducted by Ben and his tech savvy friend, Patrick (Tom Felton feeling so out of place and uncomfortable it's almost sad), in college. They supposedly opened up a rift between their world and ours, and they're pushing their way in with no way to close it off again. Who's this so-called "they," and what is this "rift" business? No idea.

The potentially creepy setup and atmosphere of a cookie cutter development suburb in the middle of the desert -- which provides for some pretty stunning moments of cinematography from Daniel Peal who provided a similar effect in the 2003 "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake -- gets immediately squandered by Lincoln's inept writing and direction. Incomprehensible, not even remotely scary and so feebly constructed with an inescapable "been there, done that" feeling, "The Apparition" will no doubt bomb after today's release thanks to rapid word of mouth.

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