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...and I hope the people next to me in the cinema couldn't hear me
yawning, which I started doing after about half-way.
These 'found footage' movies have varied over the years, since The Blair Witch Project kicked it all off. I had mixed feelings about that, but overall I felt it was an effective chiller: what's NOT seen is often so much scarier. Cloverfield, for me, remains at the top of the list, while the PA films are way down.
Apollo 18 isn't far from the bottom, either. The premise was intriguing, and I genuinely expected some sort of development in the genre - something like a cross between Blair Witch and Alien. What I got was 90 minutes of predictability and disappointment. The sense of isolation and claustrophobia was well done, but little else. I felt some sense of a tension build-up for perhaps a half-hour - but then it dissipated once the nature of the 'horror' became apparent.
I came away feeling that here was a great opportunity missed. It's worth seeing for the technical excellence and attention to detail. Just don't expect to see anything new - or anything that'll frighten the pants off you.
Have to admit i've been excited about the concept of this movie since i
read about it about 7 months back... However, i also have to admit
that, given it's release date, I was a bit worried that it would wind
up a stinker...
I went in with adjusted expectations, wanting to enjoy it but also preparing for the worst..
I'm happy to say that it winds up a pretty effective little conspiracy- theory chiller..
The producers really do a great job of building tension in this closeted, isolated atmosphere, to an agonizing crescendo and then delivering with some truly horrific imagery.
Really wound up liking this one.
My husband I looked forward to this movie for a long time. The day we
went to go see it, curiosity got the better of me and I looked up some
reviews, about 75-80% of which were bad, so I warned him and we went in
with some low expectations. I think it is because we had pre-adjusted
the expectations that we weren't more disappointed. We did leave the
theater feeling unsatisfied and just really underwhelmed.
Our main issue with the movie was that astronauts are chosen for their intelligence (obviously) as well as their ability to hand extremely stressful situations, and the characters in this film failed at both of those things. They were faced with several serious choices throughout the film, and we both felt like the choices they made were so poor that even WE would have done better. Add onto this major suspension of disbelief issue a lot of boring 'what the hell is going on' footage and very few actually suspenseful moments, and top it off with a really badly cg'd sequence at the end of the film that just flat out wasn't necessary, and you've got this movie.
The acting wasn't bad, and the sets were fine, just the plot had trouble getting off the ground, kind of flopped around like a dying fish, then finally died. Even during the tense parts I did find my mind wandering in the direction of 'what time is it? How much longer?'
Framed as leaked "found footage" from the era of space exploration in
the 1970s, Apollo 18 is an attempt to out conspiracy the already rife
conspiracy theories concerning the lunar landings. The trouble with
framing something as being documentary style footage is you have to get
the science right and be free from any loopholes that might break the
audience out of the illusion. Apollo 18 falls short on this count.
López-Gallego manages to recreate to a certain extent the lunar
missions. Portrayed through the various cameras feeding live footage
back to Earth we have a Big Brother style look into the doomed from the
start space mission. The two man crew of the lunar lander also film
themselves on 16mm cameras. Herein lies some of the flaws in the
director's logic. We need to get into the character's perspective to
relate. This is solely done through these 16mm cameras. They film
themselves on the moon's surface as well as personal records in the
module. The rest is all caught on remote cameras, the audience being
allowed to see the threat before the crew do, privy to the danger the
Department of Defence has exposed them to. The live footage makes sense
to have been documented; however the 16mm film rolls do not make it
out, they share the crews dire fate. How then are we seeing the actions
of the crew amidst this found footage? It makes no sense pulling any
reasonably astute watcher beyond the line of suspension of disbelief.
It seems clear López-Gallego wants us to care about the cast. We need to care for the conspiracy theory to resonate. The story very directly harks into the era of Watergate where the powers that be cannot be trusted. But his illusion of found footage does not stand up at all well. Does the story really fail on this account? No. It's actually fairly entertaining as it goes. The tension builds; the threat is revealed and played out. However the conspiracy theme and the documentary framing lend the film no real benefit and do not pay off. While there is reams of data on the films website to build the conspiracy it is not present enough on screen to sideline the notion we are victim to a none to subtle slight of hand.
What the film did do with the early footage was remind me why, as a child, I was so fascinated with space. It shows with sufficient realism what the actual Apollo astronauts did and how we as a planet reached for the stars. This is not history as it tries to suggest, but it is a reminder, to me at least, of how sad it is that we no longer pursue such epic destinations as the moon or beyond.
I'd been looking forward to this film for months after seeing a poster
for it. The concept of a secret 18th mission to the moon drew me in
instantly. After hearing a few mutterings from critics though, I was a
little worried it might not be quite the film I wanted it to be.
However, after seeing it tonight I'm happy to report that it's just
what I expected :)
I'm a fan of The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity and this film fits into that genre.
The special effects are brilliant. At no point did I believe they weren't on the moon. Which is daft, but honestly, they were great. The feeling of impending doom and isolation was quite palpable and I tell you this, I can't remember jumping back in my seat so much in ANY film before at certain bits!
All in all a good solid film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The previews made 'Apollo 18' seem as if it had some real promise.
Secret mission to the moon, massive government cover-up, something
unknown lurking on our nearest neighbor. A group of friend and I
thought this would be a sure-fire good time before we set out on a
Don't believe the hype...This movie turned out to a bad 80 minute mix of 'John Carpenter's: The Thing' (gets better with age) and 'Blair Witch Project' (not so much) set on the Moon. There were only four of us in the theater and we couldn't wait to leave, and the reason we lasted the length of the movie was to see if there was some deus ex machina that would save the film at the end...
But there wasn't...Worst movie I've seen in a theater!
If you want to bore yourself for 80 minutes, watch some grass grow and save yourself $10.
I was nearly put off seeing it by some of the reviews here.
SO I thought twice about seeing it, however I like sci-fi so had to watch.
The plot is well covered in other reviews.
Yes the style is different but it is in keeping with the moon landing and pictures taken at the time. Its all filmed as though done through the hand-held moon cameras.
Some reviews said actors were wooden but that is the whole point, they are supposed to be normal people (well as normal as any astronauts ) can be.
The test for me is :-
Would I watch it again, yes
I think that the current trend of the "pseudo-documentaries" in the
horror genre obeys to two main factors: first, it allows the addition
of a stylish variation to all those rancid and stale formulas which
seemed worn by such a repetition (like the masked killer, haunted
house, "torture-porn", etc.), which acquire a varnish of innovation
when they are disguised as "true events". And in second place, this
trend allows the making of movies with an intentionally bad
manufacture, something which is simple when there are not too many
available resources. After all, why worrying about the illumination,
the cinematography or the "mise en scéne", when they can simply put a
group of amateur actors in front of the camera and call that
"documentary"? Sure, there have been some pseudo-documentaries which
took advantage of the opportunity to create something interesting (like
REC and Lake Mungo); but most of those films take that as an excuse to
lower the standards of the genre even more (Paranormal Entity might be
the clearest example). I think that the film Apollo 18 is on some
intermediate point between both extremes, because even though I found
its screenplay absurd, repetitive and occasionally a bit tiring, it
generally kept me moderately entertained because of the realism of its
"verité" aesthetic and the attention to every detail shown on its
The screenplay from Apollo 18 is something like an hybrid of Alien, Sunshine and Moon, even though with all the fantastic elements reduced in order to increment the realism from the story. That might be the main reason why the film did not leave me very satisfied, and it even bored me a little bit during its most "exciting" moments. The trailers of Apollo 18 promised a horror film, but the truth is that it lacks of the necessary impact in order to provoke an emotional or even visceral impact. Even the "scares" feel forced in the documentary context (not to mention the difficulty of accepting the fact that the characters keep filming when any sensible person would have dropped the camera in front of the first sign of danger). Another problem is that the performances feel bland and not very credible. It was undoubtedly a good decision to pick unknown faces not to ruin the "realistic" premise, but I think they should have picked actors with more talent and charisma.
Having said all that, I have to give Apollo 18 a slight recommendation because of its solid recreation of the lunar mission. The version of the Moon presented by the movie might not be totally faithful from the scientific point of view, but it is more than enough for us to accept the premise and visually transport us to the satellite we had only seen in brief clips from the NASA and in sci-fi movies which had only showed various stones on a sandy field. I know that I should not be giving a movie even a slight recommendation only because of its special effects, but they are so good in this movie that I am going to make an exception, also stating the fact that the movie achieves a few good moments of tension during the first half. However, I regret the fact that the visual talent from this film could not adorn a better (and more terrifying) story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had very high hopes for this film after seeing the trailer. However nothing could prepare me for the mind numbing boredom of what I was to endure. The "Found footage" aspect became rapidly became ridiculous after the first ten minutes when shots were edited seamlessly together from all the different cameras that were supposedly used. Apart from that obvious flaw the main thing that bothered me was that the film just was not scary. Over an hour into the film and nothing happens apart from some odd bangs and unexplained movements. The final 30 minutes seemed like an almost separate film as it felt tacked on to the end once they'd ran out of ideas. And the big finish they came up with?Crabs. Ooh terrifying space crabs!!! Scary stuff indeed. All the astronauts needed was some melted butter and a bit of lemon and problem solved. utter rubbish.
I admit, it is not terribly scary, but it uses a fairly original
(comparatively speaking) filming mechanic in the found footage style
and is, aside from the space aliens, a believable film with good
acting, very few historical inaccuracies, mostly natural dialogue and a
good bit of tension. Being admittedly biased in that I was more
concerned whether they would remember that the astronauts had to
depressurize as to not get the bends than whether it was frightening, I
may give it a higher rating than most would think it deserves but I
most definitely enjoyed myself.
All in all it was a nice historical fiction about finding something sinister on the moon because of a continued space race, assuming you can respect a more minimal film on a modest budget. Not really for a fan of horror movies. Perhaps if someone could create a genre name for "historical science fiction/tense drama/horror" (in that order), a "histscifitdramhor" if you will.
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