Alas. "The Apparition" isn't bad (though it's peeved many a critic), but a few grievous strikes prove its undoing.
It started out deliciously creepy ~ hearkening back to the mood and environs of "Poltergeist" without being derivative, endowing the power lines with the dispassionate yet somehow unsettling presence they brought to "Se7en", and the problem at hand involves the tantalizing physics of the Philadelphia Experiment (hoax or not, for our purposes here they intrigue).
Of course we must ask our characters, “Um, fair goobers, what's your plan? Surely you’ve seen "The Exorcist"…?” and at many turns they make doofus decisions that heighten and prolong their agony. But that is, after all, par for the genre. Jason and Freddy and the Bad Seed don’t get the love because their prey exhibit lateral thinking skills. Those things, and a couple like them, aren’t unforgivable.
But the provocative tag line is a quintessential bait and switch ~ "The Apparition" has nothing to do with controlling one’s mind, and this ain't no Stay Puf'd Marshmallow Man. The deliciously creepy overstays its welcome (way over), at which point the film kicks into warp speed, forgetting that it’s supposed to have a second act and blasting past three quite scrumptious elements at a velocity that amounts to ignoring them, only to halt screechingly with a conclusion that could have rivaled Samara’s gentle ministrations to our pal Noah had it not been subjected to the most dismaying spoiler I think I’ve ever witnessed (and I’ve seen 2,668 titles as of this writing).
I will say that my primary interest was to see what progress, if any, Ashley Greene and Tom Felton are making toward fashioning post-blockbuster-franchise eras, and in this capacity I was well satisfied. Greene doesn’t have much room to move but makes the most of the box (fared better with "Skateland", despite the circumstances), but Felton was able to make more of the opportunity. It’s not a breakout to be sure, but it puts a completely different tone and demeanor on record that will serve him well on future casting calls. (Oh, and Sebastian Stan did fine. Nothing outstanding, but then neither was he asked to be.)
>Sigh< The things that were good, were very very good, and things that were bad, were horrid (or unintentionally amusing ~ good luck with that baseball bat).
See "The Apparition" if you’re the type of genre fan who feels no effort is a wasted one (e.g., all things being equal, can there really be bad pizza?) or if you want a scary movie to make your sweetie snuggle close (it serves quite well in that capacity), and continuing good luck and see you again to Greene and Shelton. To writer/director Lincoln, a respectful suggestion (unsolicited, granted, take what you like and leave the rest) to engage a mentor and try again.
Story: A couple finds itself beset by a supernatural tormentor… not entirely unknown to one partner’s past…
Genre: Thriller, Horror
Starring: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton
Directed by: Todd Lincoln
Running time: 82 minutes (including credits)
Official site: http://theapparition.warnerbros.com/
Houston release date: August 24, 2012
Tickets: Check Fandango.com or your local listings
Screened Aug 23rd at the Edwards Grand Palace in Houston TX