There's a reason we've never gone back to the moon.
Running Time: 88 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 15
Country: Canada, United States
Found-footage films always cause a stir. There’s inevitably the ludicrous debate about whether they are real (obviously not, in this case) and secondly whether they are any good (again, not in this case). The idea for Apollo 18 was a neat one that had some potential but somewhere along the way, it went very badly wrong.
The concept is of a secret ‘real’ space mission where two austronauts (Christie and Owen) are secretly sent to the ball of cheese by NASA during the Cold War to assemble anti-nuclear missile devices. Whilst doing their job they find the remains of Soviet astronauts who were given the same task by the opposite side. The Americans find out they are not alone and whatever killed the Russians is now after them.
The problem with faux found footage is that there’s not very far you can go with it as for much of the film they inevitably try to wring as much tension out of creaking doors, random sounds and shadows as possible whilst they try and get to grips with an elusive spook that has very little camera time. Lopez-Gallego’s movie has some huge similarities to John Carpenter’s The Thing and Paranormal Activity but lacks the atmosphere of these two and merely rehashing the stories in a different context makes it not half as scary.
Apollo 18 does look good at times with grainy real looking footage but sometimes it looks a little too good. There is the feel of?a big budget studio trying to?force the indie feel. Also, there is a laughably large number of camera angles on show here – this is a small space shuttle, not the Big Brother house.
It's Got: A very familiar story, a few pant-wetting moments, a potentially good idea
It Needs: Less obvious chills, more of an atmosphere, to not embarrassingly pretend it is real
Oh my God, is this real??? No, it’s not. And it’s not very good either.