Ashley Greene makes a pretty heroine but THE APPARITION comes up short on scares
The worst movie comedies, say, for example The Campaign, fail to match the laugh count of their two-minute trailers. The same thing is true for writer/director Todd Lincoln’s high-concept horror The Apparition, which even fails to match the single chill provided by its scary poster art of seven grey ghostly hands groping its brunette heroine played by The Twilight Saga actress Ashley Greene.
Lincoln appropriates wisely from past horror movies like Poltergeist, Insidious, The Ring, the Paranormal Activity franchise and classic POV camerawork that goes back to John Carpenter’s Halloween and still fails to deliver one standout scare.
An out-of-control paranormal experiment continues to haunt two college buddies, Patrick (Tom Felton) and Ben (Sebastian Stan), who attempted to prove that supernatural forces exist and that they can be captured and contained. Unfortunately, ghostly entities do exist but these wannabe paranormal investigators have yet to figure out a way to hold them and a close friend disappeared during their first, disastrous procedure.
Years later, Ben attempts to start a new chapter in his life with girlfriend Kelly (Ashley Greene) by moving into her parents’ vacant home at a suburban subdivision. It’s all domestic bliss until the ghostly creature from the failed college experiment follows Ben to his new home and begins to attack Kelly. With Patrick back to try to capture the spirit a second time, Ben and Kelly fight for their lives against a force they can’t understand.
Ashley Greene is a familiar face thanks to her work in the Twilight Saga movies and she looks great in scream queen attire including boxer shorts, bikini top and negligee.
Greene, so good in the coming-of-age indie drama Skateland, is never believably scared, even when her suburban home turns into a fungus-fueled Monster House. Without a frightened heroine at its center, The Apparition slowly unravels into a series of familiar, minor jolts involving mysterious spores on the kitchen wall, flickering lights and a bar of soap turning into black mold.
Sebastian Stan, last seen opposite Amanda Seyfried in Gone, is throwaway likable as Ben, Kelly’s boyfriend who has a history with the supernatural entity.
Tom Felton (the Harry Potter series) has the most fun in the movie with his select scenes as a tech-heavy ghost-buster who meets his match in the malevolent spirit.
Writer/director Todd Lincoln and production designer Steve Saklad deliver a couple of promising moments including a grey beastie crawling out from the drum of a frontloading washing machine and white bed sheet with a mind of its own but fail to capitalize on the full scare potential.
When you add up all the past horror movies Lincoln borrows from in order to make The Apparition, his missteps are doubly disappointing.
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Cast: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton
Director: Todd Lincoln
Screenwriter: Todd Lincoln
Cinematographer: Daniel C. Pearl
Editor: Jeff Betancourt and Harold Parker
Producers: Dark Castle Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures
Running Time: 82 minutes
Rating: Rated PG-13
Release Date: August 24, 2012