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Apollo 18

by

Jeff Nelson

Apollo 18 is not only dull, but is surely one of the worst films of the year.

Apollo 18
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The found footage genre has taken on an entire audience on its own. This attracts the attention of so many viewers due to the fact that it creates a more eerie atmosphere. It certainly feels more realistic when its shot on a handheld cam as if the characters were making a home movie. Apollo 18 plays off of this success and attempts to be as successful as films shot in a similar style, which are The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, and Cloverfield. The initial teaser trailers came across as interesting, but none of them explained very much about the plot. Once a full length trailer was released, I had a strong feeling that it would crash and burn. After finally seeing Apollo 18 as a rental, I'm glad I didn't spend money to see this on the big screen.

If you buy in to official statements, Apollo 17 was NASA's final manned mission to the moon. However, now found footage of a secret Apollo mission that had taken place the following year proves otherwise and explains why we haven't gone back. Apollo 18 contains a rather disappointing script. The trailer essentially shows all of the action that takes place in the entire film. There aren't very many exciting, creepy, or scary moments to be seen. Even though the running time is only 1 hour and 27 minutes, it feels as if the pacing moves at the pacing of a slug. It takes quite some time for anything to happen. I found myself bored out of my mind for a majority of the movie. The key element to these type of movies is for the audience to actually care about the characters. This is never fulfilled. The screenplay attempts to tell the personal stories of the main characters, but it simply isn't enough. Simply telling a backstory of somebody doesn't deliver any depth and doesn't create sympathy. Since this is a film about found lost and found footage, the ending is automatically given away. Even for those expecting big jump scares will be disappointed. Unless you get terrified of someone opening his eyes and yelling at the camera, you'll find yourself quite bored. It doesn't take very long for Apollo 18 to spiral into a dull mess and it doesn't recover.

One of the few smart choices made by the filmmakers was to choose an unknown cast. If audiences were to see big names in a film such as Apollo 18, it would take away the atmosphere. Even though the dialogue given to these actors is absolute garbage, the acting is suitable for this style of filmmaking. It's not ground-breaking, but it's fine for what it is. This is true for at least the beginning of the movie. Once chaos is unleashed on the moon, the acting gets worse alongside the script. Some of the delivery of dialogue is extremely laughable. Don't expect to see believable acting here.

Since this is found footage, audiences should be aware that this isn't going to have a high-definition look that most recent films boast. Instead, it's shot on a handheld camera with a large amount of grain, scratches, and pops. However, it does accurately represent the atmosphere. Apollo 18 contains primarily different shades of grays. The creatures aren't really shown, except for a few very quick glimpses. From the simple concept of how they stay hidden, it already ruins any eeriness that could have come from these creatures. Similar to the video quality, the audio is lackluster. The bass is hefty in a couple scenes, but the surround speakers are relatively silent the entire flick. The dialogue comes through clearly as the actors are never difficult to understand.

Was I expecting the best found footage film around? Absolutely not. I was hoping for at least an entertaining B-movie. The initial look at the teaser trailers definitely gave it that potential, but the film never reached that. The script is a disaster, the dialogue is tacky, the acting isn't very good, and the pacing is sloppy. I'm not surprised that reviews weren't released until the movie's debut. Apollo 18 is undeniably disappointing. Even with low expectations, this is sure to be a real letdown. This is not only dull, but is surely one of the worst films of the year.

My Rating = One Star

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