[Screen It]


(2012) (Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan) (PG-13)

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Horror: A young couple must contend with an entity from another dimension that's after them.
Kelly (ASHLEY GREENE) and her boyfriend Ben (SEBASTIAN STAN) have just moved into her parents' investment home in a new community. She works in a veterinary office and he does audio-visual installation work, which comes in handy for the surveillance cameras they have installed on the place. But Ben has kept some of his former equipment secret from Kelly, including some designed for paranormal research. Years earlier, he, his girlfriend Lydia (JULIANNA GUILL) and team leader Patrick (TOM FELTON) tried to recreate -- high tech style -- an old experiment from the 1970s.

Both were designed to prove that ghost, entities and other such supernatural phenomenon actually exist, and that by focusing their mental energies, they'd be able to manifest such a being. It worked, Lydia was sucked into another dimension, and now Ben has tried to put that in his past. Unfortunately for him, Patrick has continued but intensified the experiment, thus opening a door between this and another dimension and letting some malevolent entity to pass through. And it's now set its sights on Ben and Kelly. As spooky things progressively escalate in the house, the young couple tries to figure out what to do.

OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics (or are done so late the night before they open) is that we'll only provide a paragraph or two about the film's artistic merits or, more accurately, lack thereof. After all, life is too short to spend any more effort than that on a movie that even the releasing studio knows isn't any good (which is why they hid it from reviewers before its release).

The old saying goes that "Seeing is believing." If you combine that with the tag line for Warner Bros. latest horror flick -- "Once you believe you die" -- the characters in "The Apparition" would seem to be in quite a pickle, so to speak. Unfortunately, the believing equals death bit never really plays out in this lame spooky wannabe that has one positive selling point. And that is that it's mercifully short at just 82 minutes (including credits!).

Beyond that, it's just more of the same old, same old haunted house style material we've seen countless times before, and usually far better than what's offered here. While a few slightly spooky moments do pop up from time to time, the retreading of material (the most recent comparison would be the far better "Paranormal Activity" pics) means you pretty much know what's coming.

And the fact that we don't care about any of the characters (especially since the performances are mediocre at best) and various sequences (including the opening) are disjointed, to say the least, means any viewers who plunk down their cash and time will have to slog through the usual jump scenes and stupid character decisions without any fun or creepy payoff. "The Apparition" rates as a 2 out of 10.

Reviewed August 26, 2012 / Posted August 27, 2012

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