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December 19, 2011

Movie Review: Apollo 18 (2011, Blu-ray)

The "found footage" subgenre has been a constant theme overused in horror films since The Blair Witch Project spearheaded movies of this ilk nearly 13 years ago. The often overlooked Italian shocker Cannibal Holocaust (pre-dating The Blair Witch Project by more than 20 years) brought forth the idea of using supposedly real found film footage of cannibal carnage that was discovered in the Amazon jungle. Somehow that idea didn't quite latch onto moviegoers like it did so successfully in the 1990's with “Witch”. It's 2011, and now instead of witches, cannibals, zombies, monsters (Cloverfield), horror fans get to take spine-chilling trip to the moon with Gonzalo Lopez Gallego's Apollo 18.

Buy Apollo 18 Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combo

Apollo 18 surrounds the discovery of leaked footage from a failed trip to the moon in the early 1970's. Three astronauts (Warren Christie, Ryan Robbins and Lloyd Owen) take the challenge of shooting off into space to explore the moon and its many unknown wonders. These boys are excited and ready to do this admirable service to the country but what they don't know is that there's something deeper, and darker waiting for them on the frigid, unwelcome climate of the moon.

Mild Spoilers-

After two of the astronauts park their lunar lander it's time to plant the American flag and get to studying the land and rock formations. It isn't long before the men find out they're not alone and are possibly sharing some space with Russian cosmonauts - among other things. This comes as a big surprise to the trio. An even bigger surprise reveals a corpse and a bloody spacesuit.

The performances in Apollo 18 are neither good nor bad; they're serviceable and solid enough for a "found footage" movie. Apollo 18 is purely driven on this leaked footage and not the actors ability to carry a film for 90 minutes.  Those who aren't fans of the shaky-cam won't be bothered too much as it’s not completely overdone. One aspect I wasn’t terribly fond of was with the creatures that inhabit the moon. Once they make their appearance inside one of the astronaut’s spacesuits I thought, "that's it". The look of our aliens isn’t very appealing, so don’t expect a Giger creation, as these CGI enhanced beasties are pretty much crabs that morph into rocks.

Included on the disc are a few extras. A commentary with the filmmakers and some deleted scenes that come in the form of four different alternate endings. These are somewhat entertaining once you’ve finished the film as they show various possible demises of one of the characters.

Apollo 18 isn’t that great, but if you can make it through the draggy first half, it does offer a few fun bits to pass an evening.

At least try to get some Target coupons or discount if you buy it.

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