“”The Apparition” Is Too Good To Have Been Treated So Shabbily By Its Producers”
First off, ignore the trailer posted below. It’s seemingly for Todd Lincoln‘s “The Apparition,” currently spooling on iTunes. The footage is accurate, though the voiceovers misrepresent the movie (most of which aren’t actually in the film), as does the tagline for the poster.
Which is a shame because such deception is unnecessary. It’s sold as a found footage film in the vein of “Paranormal Activity,” which it isn’t (though the opening feels like one).
Though what “The Apparation” is is a taut, atmospheric ghost story that is more than a few jump scares, and better than any found footage film that I have yet seen (and this includes “The Blair Witch Project,” which started the whole genre) and actually plays like a close relative to Tobe Hooper’s “Poltergeist,” even down to most of the action happening in a subdivision of not-lived-in (except for the protagonists and one other family) ticky-tacky houses that all look just the same.
And, remarkably, for about two-thirds of the film it hangs with such esteemed company pretty well, till a third act stumble almost sends things off the rails.
Early on, viewers are introduced to “the Charles Experiment,” which was an effort by a group of parapsychologists to contact the spirit of someone they worked with, named Charles Reamer.
This scene is extremely important to the narrative, because it establishes the presence of the entity, which at first seemed benign, doing nothing more than shaking a table the parapsycholgists are gathered around.
Though most importantly, it verified the existence of something, at any rate. The film then jumps forward four or five years, when four parapsychology students are attempting to mimic the aforementioned Experiment, with an important exception: They use the technology of the day to amplify their brain waves–or something of that ilk–so that instead of four of them, it appears that there are four thousand.
This somehow strengthens the phantasm, enabling it to grow powerful enough that it ends up taking one of the parapsychologists.
The film primarly deals with one of the remaining paraphychologists, who has tried to put the whole experience behind him, and start anew.
Sebastian Stan (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) plays Ben, one of the two remaining parapsychologists who tried to duplicate the original Charles Experiment earlier in the film. And speaking of Stan, he not only looks less like he did in ‘The First Avenger,’ but like Oliver Reed from certain angles.
Which was probably an accident of fate, but makes the film oddly creepier because of it.
In reference to the third-act stumble, it’s when the film ventures, unsuccessfully, into J-Horror. Luckily, it recovers and ends up being–warts and all–one of the most scariest horror films that I have seen in quite awhile.
And I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the music of tomandandy, without which the images on screen would have been a lot less potent.