'The Apparition': A lazy effort on every level

By Travis Poppleton

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Aug. 24 2012 1:49 p.m. MDT

Ashley Greene as Kelly, Sebastian Stan as Ben and Tom Felton as Patrick in "The Apparition."

Dark Castle Holdings

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Because critics delight in attaching clever one-liners and over-the-top metaphors to their least favorite films, it sometimes becomes difficult to separate the underdeveloped but not all-together terrible movies from woefully appalling projects like Todd Lincoln’s “The Apparition."

So please, consider this more of a public service announcement than movie review. “The Apparition” is not only the worst film of 2012, it may be the worst film you ever experience in a movie theater.

Living in the appropriately lifeless backdrop of Palmdale, Calif., uninteresting couple Kelly (Ashley Greene) and Ben (Sebastian Stan) try to prove they’re relatable to audience members by eating Mexican food and buying discount.

However, Ben has a dark secret he’s keeping from Kelly. One time in college, he participated in a paranormal experiment that unleashed a dark entity from the unknown "netherworlds." Finally freed, the supernatural terror sucked Ben’s then-girlfriend into the ceiling and started turning lights off everywhere.

Strangely unfazed by his girlfriend’s mysterious fate, Ben decides to put the past behind him. He refuses to take calls from experiment mastermind Patrick (Tom Felton), and with new girlfriend Kelly by his side, begins life as a home theater systems technician.

But secrets like disappearing girlfriends are hard to cover forever, especially when lights start shutting off again, and doors refuse to stay closed.

With scare scenes like automatic garage doors opening and mold growing underneath linoleum, calling the “The Apparition” lazy would be insulting to lazy films everywhere. The tag line of the film, “Once you believe you die,” is nowhere to be found in the mercifully short 82-minute run time, and though Felton’s character cannot stop spouting off exposition (whether he’s in the scene or not), by the end of the film you’ll probably find yourself strangely unprovoked by the fact that none of the major plot points were explained or even addressed.

One normally unnoticed crew member however, deserves to be recognized for this film. Casting director David Rapaport was clever enough to pull side characters from three of the biggest fan bases in recent memory. They’re all terrible in this film, however. Greene is widely recognized for her place in the current Twilight series, Felton played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films and Stan was Captain America’s friend, Bucky, cementing him as a member of the Marvel family.

Even with the inevitable onslaught of bad reviews, fans may be willing to spend a few dollars to see actors from their favorite films, and Rapaport deserves credit for those few ticket sales.

In the end, had “The Apparition” turned out to be a high school project meant for casual YouTube “perusers,” it might have been written off as simply silly. But there’s no excuse for a project this misguided to be on a movie theater screen, Redbox menu or digital download service of any kind.

“The Apparition” is PG-13 for terror/frightening images and some sensuality and mild nudity.

You can contact Travis at TSPoppleton@gmail.com.

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