DIR: Gonzalo López-Gallego • WRI: Brian Miller, Cory Goodman • PRO: Timur Bekmambetov, Michele Wolkoff • DOP: José David Montero • ED: Patrick Lussier • DES: Andrew Neskoromny • CAST: Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, Ryan Robbins
Expectation can be a terrible thing. When the first trailer appeared, it looked like the makers had injected a much needed shot of originality to the already dreadfully narrow-minded sub-genre of “found footage” horror movies. And the original release date of early July showed that they had faith in their product, leading us to believe it would be closer in quality to The Blair Witch Project and [REC] instead of Diary Of The Dead or countless other bottom shelf, never-heard-of-them schlockfests. But then the release date got changed to Hallowe’en, then Novemeber, then back to July, then January 2012, and then finally settled in the post-summer September dumping ground. And then the makers didn’t allow any pre-release press screenings, which usually means they know their movie isn’t very good, or it has a twist-ending they don’t want revealed.
To an extent, both of these things apply. The movie isn’t very good, and it does have something of twist-ending. Basically, three American astronauts head up on a super secret mission to the Moon, and then Bad Stuff Happens. Giving any kind of indication as to what the Bad Stuff might be would give away the movie’s only real reason for existing, but considering the setting of the movie (i.e. in space), there’s only one thing it could possibly be, really. The three leads are all unknowns, but are universally very good in their roles. The sets do a good job of giving a sense of claustrophobia, and the ‘exteriors’ on the Moon surface are believable enough.
But as a horror movie, it doesn’t entirely work. There are only one (maybe two) proper jump shocks, and any fear or tension is replaced by confusion, either by the jittery, hand-held camera work or the loud, overbearing sound design. So if you’re looking for a truly great, proper edge-of-your-seat NASA-based movie, you can either go back and watch Apollo 13 or wait for next year’s Area 51 from the director of Paranormal Activity. Either way, this is one movie that really should have failed to launch.
Rated 12A (see IFCO for details)
Apollo 18 is released on 2nd September 2011