Starring Tom Felton, Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan. Written and directed by Todd Lincoln. PG. 82 min. Opens Aug. 24.
The tagline for The Apparition warns, “once you believe, you die.” It’s okay, though, because believing in this movie is pretty difficult. The film opens with three friends experimenting with—and ultimately discovering—an “apparition” that they believe will infect the world. Then, we’re introduced to sweet, good-hearted Kelly (Ashley Greene of Twilight fame) and her reliable boyfriend Ben (Sebastian Stan). They’ve just moved into a new house, but things quickly start to get strange. Locked doors open. Dressers shift. A weird growth multiplies beneath the tiles.
The Apparition’s biggest flaw lies in the fact that we never really get a chance to understand this otherworldly being; where it came from is never explained, nor how it works (once we believe in it, it kills us? But what exactly are we believing in?), nor how we can deal with it. Instead, the script does nothing more than give Ashley Greene—arguably cast for her looks and not for her acting chops—a chance to sniffle and scream and bat her eyelashes…in her underwear. Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter) plays Patrick, a major player in releasing the “apparition” into the world. Though well-disguised as a regular looking dude with glasses and dirty-blonde hair (so as not to draw too many Malfoy references), Felton doesn’t add much to the acting roster either.
One of the worst things a film can do is make viewers conscious of the fact that they’re watching a movie—that the people on screen are acting. The Apparition, unfortunately, does just that. It feels like a movie. It doesn’t envelop you. It doesn’t let you believe. It’s not all bad, though: The Apparition is great for a laugh. So don’t worry about meeting your demise; if a theatre full of cackling audience members is any indication, it looks like we’re all going to survive.