There's nothing we haven't seen before in Apollo 18
Starring Warren Christie and Lloyd Owen. Rated 14A.
Apollo 18 starts out as a standard flight to the moon and ends up taking a bumpy ride into the supernatural. Its mission? To scare you the old-school way. But—although space geeks will find a few nuggets to keep them entertained—experienced horror junkies may have a bigger problem than Houston. In short, there’s nothing here we haven’t seen before.
The thin plot revolves around two space jockeys (Warren Christie and Lloyd Owen) who can’t wait to explore the moon. Their mission—which takes place in 1974—is top-secret. And they’re trained to face just about any situation, right? Well, not exactly. After what seems like an excruciating amount of high-tech foreplay, our astronauts begin to experience a series of strange occurrences. It starts out as the occasional odd noise. Then they discover that the flag they planted is missing. After a while, they come across an abandoned Russian spaceship.
It would be unfair to reveal much more. Let’s just say that Apollo 18 is a little too predictable. In terms of style, director Gonzalo López-Gallego borrows heavily from movies like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. There’s plenty of shaky camera moves and sweaty close-ups. For the most part, the meandering script assumes that shocked expressions are way more effective than gory special effects. When things actually start to get gross, we’re treated to a reheated scene from Alien.
Is there anything good to say here? Well, Christie and Owen are entirely believable as dedicated astronauts who find themselves in over their heads. And all the trappings of a space mission add a genuine touch of authenticity. But—with the exception of a few isolated scenes—this is about as frightening as a spilled glass of Tang.