Apollo 18

5 09 2011

To my knowledge, there have been few – if any – horror movies set on the moon. Apollo 18 bucks that trend. Unfortunately, there is a very good reason why horror movies do not take place on the moon: there isn’t much there.

Officially, Apollo 17 was the last manned mission to the moon. However, as you may have figured out from the title of the movie, one more mission did, in fact, take place. During this mission, two astronauts landed on the South Pole of the moon in order to carry some samples back to Earth.

It doesn’t take long before the mission starts to go awry. Strange tracks are seen around the spaceship at night, and the astronauts begin to have trouble communicating with Earth. In the most isolated environment ever traveled to by mankind, the astronauts start to feel increasingly alone.

Apollo 18 tells its story through a series of ‘found footage’ clips. These short videos consist of events that either the crew has recorded on their own cameras, or footage that the landing craft has saved onto its on-board memory systems. Apparently, these videos are supposed to have been found after the events of the movie take place.

So what does that mean for the audience? Basically, you can expect to see a number of blurry, unfocused shots of confused crew members trying to figure out what is wrong with their ship. While this type of footage worked well in movies like Paranormal Activity, it gets old quickly when you see the same boring spacecraft interior, followed by the same desolate lunar landscape.

To derail the movie even further, there aren’t even that many scary moments. Any tension that Apollo 18 builds up during the beginning is quickly erased once the cause of the disturbance is revealed. In fact, some of the scariest moments of the film occur when crew members open their eyes while lying in bed.

The cause of these disturbances is what puts the final nail in the coffin of this movie. When the astronauts finally discover what is going on with their spaceship’s systems and transmitters, it is a huge letdown, and will have many audience members laughing in disappointment.

In previews for Apollo 18, the movie seemed to be advertised as Paranormal Activity on the moon. And, if the movie was written better, I’m sure it could have lived up to that lofty target. As it stands, Apollo 18 has far less tension than most horror movies, and will fail to entertain most of its audience.

Put simply, the setup to the film is far more interesting than what ultimately happens. While the movie is less than 90 minutes long, the lead up to the big reveal feels like it takes much longer. By the end of it, most audience members will be left asking themselves, “Really? Is that it?” For that reason, Apollo 18 is nothing more than a forgettable and stale horror movie.

1 star out of 5