“Your house killed my dog,” says the little girl who lives next door, and she’s almost right. It’s not exactly the house that killed it; it’s the malevolent, invisible thing lingering around inside it. It’s also the only moment throughout the whole film that feels genuinely creepy, and not a single effect was required.
The Apparition has a promising enough beginning. We see a recorded video report of a 1973 séance that appears to end successfully, followed by a second, modern day video report that ends in disaster. With lots of ear-numbing banging and crashing, a powerful force is unleashed from the other side, resulting with one of the youngsters in the room disappearing through the wall and never returning. Okay so far. Then the central plot takes over, and it’s tedious stuff.
For most of the film we’re in the company of two characters, Ben (Sebastion Stan) and Kelly (Twilight’s Ashley Green) who spend almost all of the time creeping around a new house wondering who keeps moving the furniture and making those weird noises. Any sensible couple would have run out of that house screaming Poltergeist! at the top of their lungs after the first sighting, but being a teenage-aimed horror thriller, this clueless couple remain, allowing for more disturbances that become more threatening with every encounter until at one point the interior of the house ends up looking like a crazy world exhibit at a theme park.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of The Apparition is the casting of Ashley Green, who looks considerably healthier with long hair and tanned cheeks than the pale-faced fangless vampire she plays in the Twilight Saga, and British actor Tom Felton better known as Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter. Felton plays the young paranormal scientist who seems to have the answer for everything. “Your house is not haunted,” he declares to Ben, “It’s you.” But it’s a young and inexperienced cast who has yet to develop the ability of making flat dialog come alive.
In its favor, the film feels as if it’s over before it’s begun – it’s all build-up to a story that’s undeveloped – but despite a couple of jolts created not so much by atmosphere but by a loud bang, The Apparition delivers nothing you haven’t seen in better films before. And when the only character you feel any sympathy for is the neighbor’s dog and the poor little girl who misses him, you know you’re in trouble.
The Apparition last only seventy-three minutes before the end credits begin. Be thankful it’s only seventy-three minutes.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Length: 82 minutes Overall Rating: 1 (out of 10)