Apparition Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by The Movie Partnership
Directed by Waymon Boone
Written by Mark S. Allen, Waymon Boone, Howard Burd, Rob Rose
2019, 83 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Released on 10th February 2020
Mena Suvari as Anna
Kevin Pollack as Warden White
Grayson Russell as Sam
Megan West as Taylor
Ever fancied a quick chat with the dead? There's an app for that. When young Sam creates an app that connects the living with the dead (Boo-mble? Pokemon Go-sts?) he drags his brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law out to an old mansion to beta test it. It works so well that the trio soon find themselves investigating the restless spirits of juvenile delinquents, killed by their sinister warden.
One would think that the excitement of having created an app that literally proves the existence of life after death would be enough, but what follows is a lot of generic snooping around and scares in the dark. Beyond the initial kick, the app never really plays much into the story, and we're never treated to much detail as to how one goes about coding such an invention. Instead, Apparition is a bog-standard haunted house film with a really annoying notification tone. Who doesn't keep their mobile on silent mode, in this day and age?
Director of photography Dante Yore shoots the creepy old mansion with lots of atmosphere and heaps of oppressive shadows, but there's very little else to differentiate it from the rest of the Scooby Doo chaff out there. It feels like three different films vying for attention, (its four credited writers suggesting that this is at least two screenplays mashed into one) with the bizarrely long backstory pulled in from another film – and it's the same with the app subplot. Director Wayman Boone handles the jump scares and action sequences well, but they're a cliched bunch ported over from a hundred identical movies.
Same too, go the cast, who are a cut above most low-budget horror performers, but still lack charm and charisma. Only Mena Suvari (because she's Mena Suvari) and Kevin Pollack stand out, in relatively small roles. Pollack is the villainous Warden of the piece, and has fun snarling up a storm during his brief appearances.
Apparition is run-of-the-mill, horror-by-numbers, every-cliche-in-the-book straight-to-VoD filmmaking. It's technically coherent and even looks pretty good, but does absolutely nothing memorable with its story, struggling to fill even 83 minutes worth movie. Swipe a left on this one, or whatever it is the kids are doing with their apps these days.
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