Susan Granger’s review of “The Apparition” (Warner Bros.)
No one sets out to make a bad movie, but sometimes everything that can go wrong – does. It’s obvious that first-time feature writer/director Todd Lincoln was riding the coattails of the “Paranormal Activities” found-footage, horror phenomenon, but he fails – abysmally.
Back on May 21, 1973, a para-psychological séance, The Charles Experiment, was held. As six people tried to concentrate on a drawing of the same deceased being, a spectral figure seemed to be standing behind them.
Awhile later, three college students – Patrick (Tom Felton, a.k.a. Draco Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” franchise), Ben (Sebastian Stan from “Captain America: the First Avenger”) and Ben’s girl-friend Lydia (Julianna Guill) – try to replicate The Charles Experiment, utilizing computers and a three-dimensional sculpture of the man they’re trying to reach as their thoughts are electronically amplified to 500 people. Once again, there seems to be a brief contact with the supernatural realm – after which Lydia is killed.
Cut to the present, when Kelly (Ashley Greene from “Twilight”), who works at a veterinarian’s office, is minding a suburban investment home that’s owned by her parents. She’s with her new boyfriend Ben, the same chap who was involved with The Charles Experiment and has unwittingly opened a poltergeist pathway between our earthly plane and the afterlife. When they notice strange things, like lights flickering, black mold spores and Kelly’s clothes being tied into knots, they begin to wonder if the place is haunted. So Ben beckons his buddy Patrick, who blows into their desert abode, babbling pseudo-scientific prattle about how he has to protect himself from negative magnetic fields.
“The house isn’t haunted. You are,” Patrick tells Ben before he disappears into a closet.
Todd Lincoln tries for a weirdly menacing tone but it’s uneven, even when amped by Tomandandy’s techno-score. The dialogue is stupefying and the protagonists’ choices ridiculous, particularly when they opt to sleep in a tent in the backyard.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Apparition” is a dreadful 1, perhaps one of the worst miscalculations of the year.