Movie Review: The Apparition


Part "Paranormal Activity," part "Final Destination," "The Apparition" is a scary movie devoid of both originality and scares. Thank heavens it's only 75 minutes long.

The only thing remotely mysterious about this found-footage (sort of) supernatural thriller? Why would a major American film studio such as Warner Bros. release such dreck?

This is one of those B-movies, featuring actors famous for much more successful fare, namely leading lady Ashley Greene (of the thankfully soon-ending "Twilight" saga) as pet store worker/aspiring veterinarian Kelly and Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy of "Harry Potter [website]" fame) as paranormal scientist Patrick. In the case of Sebastian Stan as Ben, a Geek Squad member by day, paranormal investigator by night, I'm guessing he was cast because he looks like a cross between Chris Pine and Mark Hamill.

After some "Ringu"-style nonsense involving a 1970s-era seance, a hopping table and unfortunate hairdos, Patrick, Ben and a young woman named Lydia (Julianna Guill) are videoed trying to re-create the seance "scientifically" ("humidity levels are good") and succeed in opening a door to the other side (which is either purgatory or a Costco), during which Lydia is pulled through a wall and vanishes.

These scenes boast dialogue that is borderline gobbledygook and music that made me want to rip off my ears. After trying the experiment again, Patrick and Ben find that an "entity" has crossed over and is trying to get them. At about the same time, Ben moves with girlfriend Kelly into Kelly's mother's "investment home," where before you can say "Indian burial ground" bad things begin to happen. Among them: strange noises, locked doors opening on their own, security cameras getting smashed, cracking linoleum, flaking granite counter-tops and huge, swelling excrescences of black mold. Hey, they don't need "Ghostbusters." They need "Holmes on Homes."

In one scene, Greene dons sexy lingerie and the camera follows her around from behind like a lovesick puppy or a pervert. Speaking of puppies, Kelly's haunted house is hell on a neighbor's dog. The dialogue mentions "voices" we don't hear, and the credits include an actor playing something we never see. My guess? Very scary editing (by three credited people).

Written and directed by someone named Todd Lincoln, who is a maker of short films, music videos and commercials, "The Apparition" was shot using the dreaded herky-jerky handheld camera.

Not exactly a new low for production house Dark Castle ("Gothika," the Paris Hilton vehicle "House of Wax," "The Reaping"), "The Apparition" is an unholy mess.

("The Apparition" contains scenes of Greene in her undies and obscenely bad dialogue, music and plot.)

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