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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 12.16.11] movie review scifi dvd horror blu-ray



Year: 2011
Directors: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Writers: Brian Miller / Cory Goodman
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 5.5 out of 10

In some ways Apollo 18 is one giant leap for the found footage genre and I gotta give credit where credit is due. The lunar setting offers us something unique while the nature of real life space travel - how immensely dangerous and claustrophobic it is - makes the concept perfect for creating suspense. That, and how authentic the footage, props and sets are is worth praising I think.

The gist is that the film has been cobbled together from footage that was taken from the until now unknown Apollo 18 mission. Three men were sent to the moon on a top secret mission and equipped with a plethora of Westinghouse Super 8 cameras and whatnot. They aren't exactly sure why they're there, though they suspect the tech is for spying on the Russians. The footage was lost until 2011 when it appeared on lunartruth.com. So the film we see tells the story of that mission.

Considering the production budget for Apollo 18 was only $5 million, the mind boggles at how badly it could have been executed. We've all seen silly low-budget space movies, but thankfully the makers of Apollo 18 spare us poorly lit moon sets and crummy props. Instead, Spanish director Gonzalo López-Gallego took on the challenge of recreating footage from the 70s seriously. He shot the film on 16mm, sourced lenses from the era, blew it up 30 per cent and mixed it all together with stock footage from the actual Apollo missions. I'm no expert, but for me, the result is a movie experience that feels authentic.



Unfortunately, Apollo 18 also falls prey to classic found footage genre problems and no matter how nice it is to look at, I know viewers will balk at how shaky it can be and how the footage seems to go dead, or gets staticy whenever anything remotely interesting or potentially scary is about to happen.

There are a few good scares and a mystery involving cosmonauts, but ultimately the film fails to sustain a feeling of sustained suspense like Paranormal Activity did. I think this falls to the inherent problem of setting a film on the moon and creating creatures that could thrive in that environment. If you think about it, there's really not a whole lot you can do once they're revealed, so the filmmakers are deliberate (read: slow) in getting around to it and when they do they don't do a lot with them. Instead we get a long portion of the second act devoted to a sick astronaut who *surprise eyes* goes a little crazy.

Apollo 18 is not nearly the dud some made it out to be when it was released, but besides the talented duo of Gallego and his editing partner Patrick Lussier (director of Drive Angry and My Bloody Valentine 3D) who make it visually fascinating, the story is a little derivative and the scares are too few and far between.

Apollo 18 sees release on Blu-ray and DVD December 27.

Special Features include:
Commentary with director Gonzalo López-Gallego and editor Patrick Lussier
Deleted and alternate scenes
Alternate endings


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qwerty (5 years ago) Reply

up yours

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agentorange (5 years ago) Reply

Back at 'ya.

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Michael Allen (5 years ago) Reply

Don't feed the trolls Agent. Just hit the delete button.


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