PG-13 horror has a bad rap -- and for good reason. Occasionally, a few productions manage to pull out all the stops while dipping under the dreaded R rating (see: Drag Me to Hell), but most modern Hollywood PG-13 efforts are in and out of the theaters in a heartbeat, pulling in a low number of female customers with their tame tales of hauntings and possessions. Needless to say, The Apparition is yet another bland entry in the latter category. Devoid of scares and energy, the picture is all bumps in the night and has nothing to set it apart from its other forgettable post-Japanese horror contemporaries.
The plot centers on a couple (Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan) who are slowly haunted by a ghost in an isolated housing development in the desert. It turns out that the guy was involved with a group who were trying to make contact with a specter, but ended up bringing one into the world by accident. Cue open doors in the middle of the night, really nasty mold outbreaks, and a spot in their home with the power to kill household pets. Also along for the ride is Harry Potter’s Tom Felton, who, strangely enough, looks just like Daniel Radcliffe for most of the picture -- except for one scene when he’s his normal blond-haired self (it’s weird).
While filmmaker Todd Lincoln shoots much of the movie as a straightforward narrative, there are plenty of found-footage-style moments to superficially amp up the dramatics. A few long shots of the secluded suburban setting do lend an unsettling air to the picture, but there’s just not much else that’s really interesting about the production. The script is thin, the characters unremarkable, and with no ghastly villain in sight, the shocking moments will probably only yield horrific home-improvement flashbacks for the audience. Thankfully, the movie only runs 82 minutes, although somehow superstore Costco manages to make two appearances in the film. If the studio took as much time to develop the project as they did the product placement, maybe there would be something worth remembering about this pale shade of a shock flick. leave a comment --Jeremy Wheeler