I'll Get The Lingerie Thief
The Apparition is an abomination of the horror genre. It tried so hard, but fell smack flat with lacklustre delivery, with a non existent plot and absolutely zero scares. Worst, the studios seem to know of the problems with the film, and put just about every fine moment that the film has onto its trailer, committing the cardinal sin of telling the entire story, and showing the exact ending. All these just to ramp up interest in its premise, before the sham got exposed a few minutes into its short runtime of 82 minutes.
Written and directed by first timer Todd Lincoln, it felt as if the filmmaker was totally clueless in knowing how to tell a story, rooting from a single great idea of a premise for the genre, but having undoubtedly little inspiration and creativity in the development of a story from the idea. It teased with the introductory inter-title about an experiment from the 70s, before proceeding to show a film purportedly capturing some glimpses of the said experiment. Fast forward to today, some college students get involved in trying to replicate that 70s experiment, involving the invocation of a spirit, and all goes awry.
Before you know it, that narrative thread is left hanging in the hopes that it will create suspense and mystery, and the film went on for the most parts to tell the story of lovebirds Ben (Sebastian Stan) and Kelly (Ashley Greene), in showing just how awesome their lives are, and having to co-habitate in the holiday home of Kelly's parents, in a designer neighbourhood with all but one neighbour. Perfect set up for things that go bump in the night, and before long, we follow the duo trying to make sense of shadows, open doors, moving furniture and the likes, before finally freaking out and looking for answers in the form of Ben's friend Patrick (Tom Felton), who was his buddy in that same college experiment seen earlier in the film.
As mentioned, there is absolutely nothing here that will raise your adrenaline level, or make you cower from behind semi-closed eyes. A toddler will probably laugh at the meek attempts to create an atmosphere to scare, and perhaps find Ashley Greene prancing around in her underwear a lot more appealing for those peek-a-boo moments. Pacing is totally off, not helped by Todd Lincoln having no story to tell. Everyone seemed to be sleepwalking in their roles, making it horrendous to sit through with scenes being fairly stand-alone with little links to one another, and the premise right at the beginning, well, was just that, not being exploited fully to keep everything under one coherent narrative.
You can sense that Lincoln had probably wanted to tell of a more cerebral story than the usual run of the mill horror flicks, but surely this is way out of his league, and I'm sure many in the audience will appreciate a more direct approach in dishing out the scares. He's got to realize that he's no Kiyoshi Kurosawa as the story tries so hard to become a spiritual peer to the Japanese director's acclaimed film Kairo (which was remade by Hollywood into Pulse), and that one shouldn't bite off more than one can chew.
The Apparition makes watching paint dry seem like a roller coaster ride. Avoid it at all costs, unless you want to learn how not to make a film. You have been warned as this stinker sinks right to the bottom of the pile of worst films of the year.