MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
I am constantly confused by studios that not only drop horror movies outside of October, but those that drop them so close to October yet still outside that they might as well drop them closer to Halloween. This year was no exception to that, featuring a slew of scary movies in August and September, but relatively few in October. I suppose this was done in 2012 to make way for the powerhouse scary films like “Sinister” and “Paranormal Activity 4,” but it just seems silly to me to not load up the month of Halloween with scary film… or at least drop the DVDs and Blu-rays then.
Yet, even with this confusion for horror-themed product for films like “ParaNorman,” I totally understood why “The Apparition” came out when it did, with October neatly sandwiched between the theatrical release date and the disc street date. It’s because “The Apparition” isn’t really a scary movie at all.
Sure, it has scary elements. It’s got a scary storyline. It’s got things that go bump in the night and jump out of the shadows. It has a house that kills a dog, for crying out loud.
But it’s not really scary. And I’m okay with that. Once you get past that point, you will be okay with it, too.
“The Apparition” tells the story of a young couple who start to experience paranormal events in their home. After investigating the events, Kelly (Ashley Greene) learns the manifestations are a result of her boyfriend Ben (Sebastian Stan) and some grad students who conjured a spirit several months ago. This entity now wants to be in our realm, and it also wants to bring Kelly and anyone else it can back to its darker realm.
There’s a lot of bellyaching by horror fans about the PG-13-ification of horror films, and that can be troublesome. However, with “The Apparition,” I wasn’t bothered so much by that because this film doesn’t attempt to be anything but a PG-13 horror flick. No real terror exists. No real violence results. And there isn’t any serious bodily harm to get the gore rating. Even the all-too-obvious shower scene and resulting nighttime chills featuring Ashley Greene in a nightie and tight panties is barely enough to get the film out of family-friendly territory.
“The Apparition” is a softball horror film, but it’s not made for die-hard fans of scary movies. Rather, it’s made for 13-year-old girls at a slumber party wanting to be sort of scared. The casting says as much, considering they plucked an actress from the “Twilight” series to headline the film (presumably Kristen Stewart was too busy banging directors, and Anna Kendrick was too busy doing more “serious” work).
It’s a ghost story with some decent atmosphere but no real peril. It runs extremely short at 82 minutes, and the story isn’t very complex. I didn’t particularly like the film, but then again, I’m not a 13-year-old girl at a slumber party.
The Blu-ray comes with four featurettes and no deleted scenes or unrated cut at all (which is more evidence this was meant to be PG-13 horror from the get-go). The featurettes include interviews with paranormal researcher Joshua P. Warren, who goes into detail about the actual case studies that inspired the script. He’s a bit kooky, but I suppose his choice of fields necessitates that.