Review: Apollo 18 (2011)

Directed by: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Starring: Warren Christie, Lloyd Owens, Ryan Robbins

Love ’em or hate ’em, “found footage” horror films, at least in recent years, have garnered enough success to warrant dozens of copycats. Laboriously paced as some of the entries into this subgenre purposefully are in an effort to build tension prior to a sometimes gratifying climax, others have suffered infinitely from some agreeably horrible execution. I wasn’t fully aware that it was time to beat another tried-and-true approach to death, but Apollo 18 does so far less than admirably, borrowing heavily from some much more enjoyable predecessors and offering very little in the realm of effective scares.

Given how much this film embarrassingly lacks, it’s hard to come up with even a single reason why it was made in the first place. Using the fictional Apollo 18 lunar landing as its backdrop, we’re offered a firsthand account of the previously covert operation as things go from bad to worse for our ill-fated trio of cosmonauts. From the get-go, there’s very little to care about outside of precisely what happens to the individuals in question. Character development is literally nonexistent, and NASA’s supposed reasoning behind why this particular mission was kept under wraps in the first place is ludicrous and highly implausible, leaving one to believe that the film will hopefully make up for what it lacks later on in the proceedings. Much to our dismay, it doesn’t.

Each discovery our protagonists make is as uninteresting as the next, not once emitting at least the slightest hint of intelligence in between predictable bouts of “DID YOU SEE THAT?!” and sustained disbelief regarding just what these characters are up against. Even as this information is revealed, I was shocked and almost appalled at how ridiculous the parasitic menace is conceptually, and seeing as how it’s virtually impossible to care for anyone involved, all there’s left to do is sit back and watch as the inevitable plays out before our eyes after roughly an hour or so of uneventful, scare-free drivel.

Possessing anything other than an era-appropriate sense of style in relation to its visual presentation, it’s safe to say that Apollo 18 is a cinematic abortion. Disregarding the lackluster performances entirely, the film as a whole is quite literally devoid of anything even remotely enjoyable thanks to a startling lack of a detail and an uncanny ability to bore its audiences. As far as “found footage” productions go, this entry into the sub-genre is easily the worst to come along since its inception, which is saying a lot, but to squander a mildly intriguing premise this heavily is borderline inexcusable. Needless to say, this footage should have remained lost.

Rating: 2/10

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