THE APPARITION (2012) Review

Directed by: Todd Lincoln
Starring: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton

The promotional material for THE APPARITION featured quite an intriguing tagline ‘Once you believe you die’ which was pretty much the only thing that piqued my interest about this movie. Logically I assumed that the story would hinge on this idea of belief which could have made for an interesting scenario but instead it doesn’t appear in the film at all. Talk about bait and switch…

I watched THE APPARITION and THE POSSESSION back to back which it turns out wasn't such a great idea at all. THE POSSESSION was your usual toned down retread of THE EXORCIST, something which has been done countless times before and really doesn't need to be done again. Ever.
But as disappointing as it was, it was nothing compared to THE APPARITION.

The film opens with some old grainy Super 8 footage of a séance being performed by a group of psychics attempting to contact a former colleague of theirs. We then see the same experiment being performed in more modern times as trio of students Patrick (Felton), Ben (Stan) and Lydia (Julianna Guill) try to take a more scientific approach. This same mixture of science and the supernatural was used (unconvincingly) in THE DEVIL INSIDE and it doesn't work any better here. I'll be the first to admit I'm not very well versed in any kind of science but the way they try to explain everything here just sounds like bullshit to me.
Anyway, the experiment works. Kind of. They contact an entity and a portal is opened which promptly sucks Lydia into what we can only assume is some sort of spirit netherworld.

Fast forward to four years later and we see Ben moving into a new house with his girlfriend Kelly (Greene). Life seems to be going pretty swell and all that shit from four years earlier seems to be far from Ben’s mind. But why is he going out of his way to avoid all the emails and phone calls he keeps getting from Patrick? And why does weird shit start happening around their new house?

I'll bet you can guess how the rest of the movie turns out, and you know why? Because that’s exactly what it is; predictable. And of course when the strange occurrences start to happen they are all the same old clichés you see everywhere these days. Moving furniture, shadows, doors opening, animals acting strange etc. Apparently the filmmakers wanted to add something a little different to this affair though so they also lifted some familiar elements from other films like DARK WATER, JU-ON and THE RING.

But as weird and unexplained as all of this is, that’s all it is. At no point is there a suggestion that Ben and Kelly’s lives are in danger, it’s as if this entity just wants to fuck with their heads. It pulled Lydia into some kind of vortex at the movie’s beginning so why doesn't it just do that again?

And I won’t even go into how inane some of the character dialogue is. Suffice to say that plenty of it is overly obvious and even cringe worthy. But it’s not all negative (although most of it is) because in a similar way to THE POSSESSION the movie does create some creepy atmosphere in a few parts but nowhere near as much as it could have. Also, Ashley Greene provides some eye candy for those so inclined (she’s not really my type). Apart from that though THE APPARITION is a downright terrible film. And when it brings up the whole scientific angle towards the end – a whole lot of bullshit talk about reverse polarities and electromagnetic crap – you know that it’s just a desperate attempt on the film’s part to try and sound much more intelligent than it actually is.

Apparently 2012 wasn't such a great year for these kind of supernatural / ghost / possession type flicks and THE APPARITION is easily one of the worst. If you do want to see a decent ghost flick from last year then I recommend THE WOMAN IN BLACK but as for THE APPARITION; do yourself a favor and avoid it.

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