Big Atmosphere, Little Payoff: “The Apparition” (2012) Review

The Apparition begins with a found footage style in 1973 with a group of people are performing an experiment in hopes of contacting their dead friend by all concentrating on a photo of him. They think their attempt failed, however a photograph taken proves otherwise when figure is seen stand between two of the members.

Flash forward to present day, we meet Ben (Sebastian Stan), Patrick (Tom Felton), and Lydia (Julianna Guill), as well as an unseen member of the team. The team is trying to perform the same experiment as the original group. However, with advanced technology they feel that they will make a greater breakthrough. They wear headgear that can help electronically amplify their thoughts to equal 500 people while focusing on a sculpture of the man Charles from the first experiment. This group manages to make a breakthrough, lights begin to flash and crashing and noises occur. The lights suddenly go out and when they turn back on the team sees Lydia getting sucked away into the darkness.

Flash forward once again, to Kelly (Ashley Greene) who is now dating Ben, and are residing in Kelly’s parents home while they are away. During their stay, the couple begins to encounter a presence that becomes more menacing with each haunting. Eventually Ben reveals his secret to Kelly, and re-connects with Patrick in hopes of stopping this presence once and for all and hopefully close the door that was opened.

The Apparition is definitely one of those films that had so much potential, but it was not drawn out well enough to make it a success. Unlike the well-known Paranormal Activity films, The Apparition was going somewhere, it just happened to crash and burn along the way. It definitely has some strengths. It has a very cool and interesting premise, some decent acting, moderately likeable characters, great mood and atmosphere, creepy music and some pretty eerie scenes. However, its flaws get in the way of that. We have very underdeveloped characters, Julianna Guill definitely got jipped. She really should have been given much more screen time to develop her character more. Tom Felton gets his share of screen time, but not enough to satisfy the flow of the story. We don’t even get to see the 4th person involved with the 2nd experiment!

Its other flaw is the reveal of what the spirits want and how they work. We’re told this by voice over by Patrick, and by the time the voice over is finished there is only five minutes left of the movie. The movie should have had Patrick appear much earlier in the film after the haunting, explain the spirits, and have the three trying to stop them the remainder of the film. This definitely should have been longer than an hour and fifteen minutes (excluding credits). While the last shot of the movie makes it seem like an abrupt ending, I thought about it and came up with my own theory of how the last shot could have a much deeper meaning. Most may not think like this however. Ultimately, this movie really lacked flow and depth. Definitely had a good direction, but wasn’t drawn out enough to achieve much. I would not call it underrated or highly recommend it, but I do think people should give it a shot and come up with their own thoughts on what they (the viewer) would have improved on or changed, because essentially, this film is perfect for that.

–Cody Landman

1 thought on “Big Atmosphere, Little Payoff: “The Apparition” (2012) Review

  1. I’ll definitely see the movie, but I would prefer to wait until it comes out on DVD. I’ve read a few reviews on The Apparition, and they really aren’t that great. I think it’d be safe for someone to assume that it’d be good, especially with how cool the trailer made it seem. I know many of my friends and Dish coworkers were under the same assumption! I will probably just add it to my Blockbuster @Home queue when it comes out on DVD. I may go see The Possession… the trailers make that look good, so we will see how this goes. Great review!

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