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Saturday, January 4, 2020

Review: Apparition

Director: Waymon Boone
Screenplay: Mark S. Allen, Waymon Boone, Howard Burd, and Rob Rose
Year: 2019

With the advances in mobile phone technologies in the past decade, these devices have become indispensable in the lives of many people. For these devices there is an ever-growing selection of applications, but how about one that lets you contact the dead? This is the frightening premise that “Apparition” let’s go by with a poor execution.

A clever young guy creates an application for smartphones that lets you contact the dead. Together with a group of friends, they decide to test the application, which takes them to an old abandoned juvenile correction facility. The ties that all of them have with this place are revealed as they must face the ghosts of the past.

The first third of the movie is dedicated to exposing what a young boy lived after he was sent to a juvenile correction facility after his pill addicted mother died accidentally as she was attacking him. This is the most intriguing part of the story, where it is shown that the boy suffered from an excess of authority and violence in the correction facility and develops as a juvenile drama. After spending quite some time in this story, it propels some years into the future and with a different group of protagonists, which are responsible for the rest of the movie.

The association of the new characters with the previous events is evident since they are introduced, but there is little backstory for any of them to understand their relationships and reactions between the group of friends. The cast, starring Mena Suvari (“American Horror Story”), Kevin Pollak (“End of Days”), and Megan West (“How To Get Away With Murder”), in general, do a decent job of interpreting characters with little personality and interest, those generic characters that you never remember their names. Another part of the cast does a cringe-worthy job in the interpretations, without understanding how to carry a certain character.

It is surprising that this movie had four writers, Waymon Boone (“The Devil’s in the Details”), Mark S. Allen, Howard Burd, and Rob Rose (“Stretch”), and it still suffers from issues in the structure, character development, and dialogues. The plot of the movie was this other part of the story is presented, pivots around an application that allows contacting the dead, created by one of the members of a group of friends. Practically no time is spent into explaining how he manages to create this application and how he manages to do this contact, which could have been the most interesting part of the movie, and this information is simply thrown at the viewer and goes on as if this was something common.

As expected, the group of friends decides to test the application, which takes them to the juvenile correction facility from the beginning, which years later seems to have been abandoned, but we soon discover that something inhabits inside its walls. From here on the movie starts depending more on the atmosphere and cheap jump scares, both ineffective in their purpose. It ends up being a ghosts and revenge story that uses every horror movie clichĂ© and presents ghosts that are not scary, uses silence to later try to scare with loud noises that have little to do with what is actually happening and a plot too bland and predictable. 

“Apparition” proposes a very interesting premise, the same it ends up wasting in virtue of bringing a generic story, those that we have thousands in horror cinema. The audiovisual compartment is well-done, but it doesn’t stand out thanks to the uninteresting story, weak acting, and for letting out of screen every violent scene. The cleverness presented in the wordplay between its name and one of the key elements in its plot doesn’t traverse to the rest of the movie, where it lacks suspense and focus.

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