For upwards of seven minutes, The Apparition, a horror film created by and starring several people of little regard for now, is somewhat interesting. The following 70-some minutes are as mundane as they are predictable, offering a few fleeting scares and plenty of unforgettable scenes.
The young and attractive couple of veterinarian Kelly and techie Ben find themselves haunted by a spirit in their newly purchased house, one on the outskirts of sprawling suburban California in a development that finds so far just one other resident. That there, the image continued construction and sprawl in the southwest of the United States is far scarier than anything else that happens in the film.
Just before we see the couple move in, we are privy to an experiment done by a group of college kids who, for reasons passing understanding, are trying to summon a dead spirit. It would seem that they have succeeded, and now the ghost is haunting Ben and Kelly, rearranging their furniture and rotting their plants.
So what starts off as a moderately promising idea dies as quickly as Kelly’s newly purchased cactus or the neighbour’s dog. There are bumps in the night, and a couple slight scares, all of which suggests the spirit is looking for a place to live, but not quite sure if a boring suburban life is for him (or her). Perhaps this apparition is the ghost of housing-bubble past trying to warn the couple not to invest so quickly.
A likelier reason for the haunting is that this apparition is bored—though not nearly as much as the audience. Writer and director Todd Lincoln knows how to frame horror shots and get the audience prepared for something scary to happen, but nothing happens. It is missed opportunity after missed opportunity on screen, and when something noteworthy does happen, it seems too random and strange that it’s more confusing than scary.
The only thing memorable about this lackluster attempt at a horror film is Ashley Greene (not that there are that many characters). Her curled brunette locks are always shimmering, her lips are always glossed, and often she is running around in short shorts or a nightie. Meanwhile Ben, and later his friend Patrick, are sweaty, scruffy, and come off appearing in the shadows of the shining Greene, clearly the only reason this movie was made. It is hard to judge her acting talent in a film that gives her terrible lines, and makes her character do really stupid things.
The only payoff is that the movie ends quickly, if not completely at random. With poorly-delivered horror movies such as this, often it is suggested to simply watch the trailer. I say go one step further and say just stare the movie poster awhile; it’s the only scare you may get, and you’re going to be staring at Greene a lot anyway.