The Apparition is better left unseen

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Starring Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, and Tom Felton. Rated 14A. Now playing.

I had my doubts about The Apparition as soon as I found out it was from Dark Castle Entertainment, the same production company behind such godawful horror flicks as Gothika, Ghost Ship, The Reaping, and Orphan. Not an impressive track record by anyone's standards.

And it turns out my trepidation was well based, as this new supernatural thriller by first-time director Todd Lincoln has stinker written all over it. In indelible ink.

The movie centres on the beautiful Kelly (Ashley Greene of the Twilight saga), a student veterinarian who--along with her Geek Squad boyfriend Ben (Sebastian Stan)--has just moved into a new suburban investment property owned by her folks. Strange things start happening: her cactus dies, ash-type grunge appears on a kitchen counter, and a dresser moves a bit. Then the neighbours' beloved dog wanders into the laundry room, sees a shadow on the wall, lays down, and dies. Cancel the Welcome Wagon.

We soon discover that Ben was part of a college experiment on paranormal entities led by Patrick (Tom Felton of the Harry Potter films), and that the research went terribly wrong. "We brought it into our world, and it's loose!" warns Patrick in an urgent email. "It's free!"

Yeah--free to create a fungal-looking batch of cement-like goo on Kelly's kitchen wall, which--when chipped at with a handy broomstick by Ben--yields the same white carving of a man they used in the previous experiment. Interesting... not!

When the young couple starts hearing weird noises and the clothes in their walk-in closet get all knotted up, that's the last straw. They head to a hotel, but the scary (to them anyway) stuff keeps happening. When they finally meet up with Patrick he explains: "Your house isn't haunted. You are."

An utterly pointless and inept mashup of Paranormal Activity and Final Destination--with a bit of Ringu thrown in for bad measure--The Apparition does have at least one thing going for it. It's only 75 minutes long.

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