A computer algorhythm could create a generic horror movie out of elements from previous films and franchises. But it wouldn’t “know” what about those elements is supposed to be scary.
Apparently, that is also true of the ostensible humans who put together The Apparition, one of the most boring horror movies of all time (albeit punctuated by the odd unintentional bellylaugh – the line “Your house killed my dog,” being one).
There’s a moment lifted straight out of The Ring (almost to the point of copyright violation), there are endless moments when it’s trying, laughably, to manifest Paranormal Activity. Then it descends into pseudo-scientific bafflegab, flashing lights and mysterious machines – kind of like the reality TV series Ghost Hunters, but even less scary.
The Apparition involves a malevolent entity that, it’s explained, existed long before demons and devils (which reminds me of Spinal Tap’s description of the druids living “100 years before the dawn of time”).
Although, for the grandfather of all demons, it doesn’t do an awful lot of scary stuff. In one of its early manifestations, it moves a dresser drawer belonging to suburbanite Kelly (Ashley Greene) six whole inches, thus totally ruining the feng shui of the room. You monster!
Kelly’s live-in boyfriend, in a forelosure-stricken U.S. desert suburb (think Arizona), is a tech geek named Ben (Sebastian Stan). What Ben hasn’t told Kelly is that he used to be involved in paranormal experiments with a tightly-wound young Brit geek researcher named Patrick (Tom Felton – yes, Harry Potter’s Draco Malfoy) to contact the “other side.” Wait, can’t you do that with an Ouija board?
In flashbacks and, yes, scaaary shaky video, we discover that the experiment – full of sparks and explosions - got out of control, releasing something that will chase you all the way to a depressing suburb and put mold on your walls and cause your linoleum to crack - as if that wouldn’t have happened anyway under current building codes.
The algorhythm apparently recognizes the importance of video in contemporary horror movies. At one point, the unseen ghost/demon picks up a video camera itself and records Kelly while she sleeps - in flagrant violation of film union rules. You monster!
And if you try to leave and stay in a hotel, your blanket-sheet will supernaturally be tucked so tight it will try to kill you. Yeah, I’ve stayed there.
I could go on. One might question the effectiveness of a baseball bat as an effective weapon against a ghost-demon, or the choice of a Costco for the final ultimate fright scene.
Although I do find Costco scary. A lot scarier than The Apparition, anyway. More Movie Reviews