The Apparition (2012) Review

One from the re-watch pile…

The Apparition (2012)


Film: Sometimes I wonder HOW a film gets made. Do producers come up with a concept after watching a few films, or hearing about the popularity of a few films, and think,’ I could hire some people to do something like this’ OR is it a case of a writer or director see the popularity of a type of film and attempt to emulate it?

Now I’m not aiming any particular criticism against writer/ director of The Apparition, Todd Lincoln, personally, but it seems to me that this is the case here. I mean, originality in cinema rarely exists outside of international films or the indie scene, but sometimes a film is SO generic that it almost feels like its a cynical parody, but not funny, of other films that are trying to be serious.

So why did I bother to ever watch this film in the first place? Well, my lovely wife was a fan of the Twilight films, and like many couples, we have a deal where we choose a film alternatively, but what she didn’t realise was I could suffer these films due to Ashley Greene, one of the more lovely of the vampires, and I have to say I’m not above seeing a film just due to a hot star… I maintain I saw Burying the Ex not due to Greene or Alexadria Daddario’s appearances, but instead due to my fandom of Joe Dante.


Did that sound convincing? Good.

The other reason is I had never seen Tom Felton, better known as Draco Malfoy, in anything other than the Harry Potter films, a fantasy series that I quite enjoy. Now I’ve not seen this film since it was released, and didn’t realise that the Winter Soldier from the Marvel films, Sebastian Stan, has a lead role in this.


SO what is the film about? Honestly with this forthcoming synopsis, I could have phrases such as ‘like in Poltergeist’ at the end of each sentence, but that would be unfair, so I’ll resist.

Our story starts with a double flashback, the first with some dodgy old film of a séance followed by another where Patrick (Felton), Ben (Stan) and Lydia (Julianna Guill) engaged in a psychic experiment in which Lydia is snatched and disappears.

Flash forward to now, and Ben and his far too hot girlfriend, Kelly (Greene) are living in a house on a new estate owned by her parents, but something strange is happening. It starts with a brand new cactus rotting, and continues with things moving around the house by themselves, wood rot coming through the floor and clothes strangely being ties in knots… but why is this happening? Could Patrick be restarting the experiments or has Ben been haunted all along….

This is one of those films where the main characters are so stupid you just want to shake them. If I found floor rot, I’d call someone to look at it; if I found doors unlocked and security cameras being wrecked, I’d call the police and if I found a giant thing in my kitchen that looked like a wasp’s nest, the first thing I’d do is call an exterminator, not poke it with a freaking broomstick!

Their is some emotional sharks that are jumped here as well, and Greene’s character seems to be unable to feel for her boyfriend’s loss of a previous girlfriend and instead seems to be simultaneously pissed off her had a relationship before her, and that whatever happened may also happen to her… even though they aren’t involved in the experiment.

Now please don’t let me make you think that Lincoln is anything but a pretty good director! The scenes are all set well, and the estate the house is in, which is in the middle of the desert, is pretty amazing.

It’s just the story of the film: it’s so lame and so run-of-the-mill, and made for that ‘I don’t like horror but I like ghost stories’ group who love the Paranormal Activity and Conjuring and Insidious group. Mix into those PG, dull films with an absolute shedload of j-horror imagery, and you’ve got a pretty boring bit of ‘entertainment.

Score: *1/2


Disc: This review was performed on the Australian bluray release which thankfully only runs for 82 minutes. The feature is presented in a clean and clear 16×9 image with a fantastic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track.

Score: *****

Extras: Four extras on this disc, all of which exist to advertise Joshua P. Warren and his ghostly research:

The Apparition: A Cinematic Spectre sees a few of the cast discuss the film, and even they have trouble explaining what is going on, and meets Joshua P. Warren, the ghost advisor for the film. Yup: the ghost advisor.

The Dark Realm of the Paranormal is more promotional material for Warren, who spends 5 minutes talking about how he believes in absolutely everything paranormal.

Haunted Asheville looks at Warren’s book of the same name and the history of horrible things that happened throughout the town of Asheville.

The Experiment of the Apparition looks at Warren’s experiments in the paranormal.

All the extras on this disc seem to be farcical attempts to promote and quantify Warren and his team of ‘scientists’.

Score: **

WISIA: Greene is in her bikini and underwear for a few minutes, so that’s got to be a reason to watch it again, right? No, it’s not.


Overview: Stranger Things


After a hiccup start, I finally got around to watching the full first season of hit TV show Stranger Things. For those not in the know, Stranger Things is a heavily 80s-inspired Netflix Original TV show which tells of a missing boy, a psychic girl with a mysterious past, and governmental research into other dimensions, and the effects these three things have on a lazy small town in America.

I need to address a few things first. The first thing is this is not a review, but more just a casual thoughts on the show, though I will give a score of what I thought of it at the end just to reflect my overall opinion of it.

The second thing is I have to admit there is a reason why its taken me so long to watch this series: I watched episodes 1 and 2 when they first came out and honestly, they didn’t grab me in the slightest. I had been told by all and sundry that this show would definitely appeal to me as it was like a love letter to all my favourite 80s films… which, let’s face it, are everyone’s favourite 80s film.

I would even go so far as to say I was an active detractor of it.


Due to the fact a whole bunch of my friends are huge fans of it, I decided to give it another go. The one thing that annoyed me through my detracting comments of it, most people’s response was the same: wait til the third episode where it ramps up and becomes really interesting.

I hate this comment with a passion, and I hear it from people about Game of Thrones too, another show which I’d apparently love if I gave it a proper go. The thing is though, I’m a movie watcher, and if someone said to me that a film gets good in the last hour, I may not have the drive to sit through two hours of boredom for an exciting third act.


This time though I gave it the opportunity to get better, and it did! Do I think it was good TV? Yes! Do I think it was innovative? No.

To clarify this comment, I’ll compare the series to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Rowling is a genius not so much in the story she told, but with her capacity for taking traditional European fantasy and mythological tropes and compressing them into a story that creates a universe that is not only new, but just familiar enough for our current need for stagnant nostalgia to be satiated.

Stranger Things’ makers have done a similar thing, but with the languages and tropes of eighties cinema, and by setting it in the 80s really nailing the filmic amalgamation home. As I watched I received so many flavours of the 80s like Flight of the Navigator, Invaders From Mars, almost everything from Spielberg and Stand By Me… actually, heaps of visuals and thematic similarities were similar to SBM.

I’m not saying the distilling of these things is a bad thing, I just think one can’t necessarily always detach themselves from the obvious influences… especially when one of the young female leads is a pretty good looky-likey for Mia Kirshner from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!

On the subject of the cast, I was impressed with the kids playing the leads. They were great in their roles and at no point entered the realm of ‘annoying kids on TV’ syndrome. Particularly great was Millie Bobby Brown, who portrayal the pain of her characters abilities with a spectacular subtlety that even a more mature performer might struggle with. The other performance highlight was that of Sherriff Hopper by David Harbour: at first it appeared his character was going to be a cookie cutter small town cop character but he became endearing and an amazing character.

Then there’s Winona Ryder playing what could be Winona Ryder, but I love her and her insanity all the same.

One thing I did unabashedly love about this TV show was the synth soundtrack by Kyle Dixon, with a few pop songs here and there from the era. I love synth anyway, so this played straight into my affections… actually I grabbed the vinyl as soon as I could after my initial watch as it was the only thing I really liked about the show.

So a second season has been announced, but am I excited by it? Not really, but I’ll definitely give it a chance as I enjoyed this enough to give it a proper go. Will I actively pursue it if it is difficult to see? No. I’m not going to cry if I don’t see it.

Score: ***

R.I.P. John Hurt

This one really burns me.

It is with great regret that I report the passing of actor John Hurt, aged 77.


Hurt was in many film that were favourites of mine, including Alien and the Elephant Man, not to mention the role of Olivander in the Harry Potter series.


Most recently he played one of the Doctor’s non-Doctor incarnations in the TV series Doctor Who, my favourite TV show of all time.


The To Watch Pile would like to pass on their condolences to his family. Cinema lost a great one today.