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10th February 2020

Horror Film? Don’t Think So

A horror based on real-life events always sounds like a very promising film. The exciting feeling can increase even more when it takes place in the current area in which modern technology dominates our lives every second.

Last year we had “Countdown” which was, despite its flaws, still a very enjoyable movie. Sadly, we can’t say the same of “Apparition”, the latest film from director Waymon Boone (“Sunrise in Heaven”, “My Daddy’s in Heaven”) in which technology and death are inseparable. While it’s being classified as a horror film, it’s everything but that.

The start of “Apparition” makes you feel hopeful about what the rest of the movie will be. It’s set in 1995. After being charged with the accidental murder of his mum, a young boy is being sent to the Preston School of Industry which is a reformatory centre for boys.

Many boys are being tortured and drilled by Warden White (Kevin Pollak) who rules with an iron fist. When the young boy wants to escape from the hands of White and wants to leave, he’s being killed by the Warden. Those horrific events are being witnessed by housekeeper Anna (Mena Suvari) who’s the mother of the warden’s illegitimate girl.

You might wonder when modern technology comes in. Well, this happens when “Apparition” makes a leap from the ’90s to the present day. The wonderful couple Skyler (Annalisa Cochrane) and Derek (Matthew Barnes) are about to get married. The whole family came together for the rehearsal dinner including, Derek’s younger brother Sam (Grayson Russell).

Normally the night before a wedding should be filled with joy, happiness, and nerves. Well, that’s not the case for Skyler and Derek. After Sam reveals an app he created, that can find connections between its users and the death, they decide to test it.

Alongside their friends Taylor (Megan West) and Nate (Jason Woods), they’re heading to dark and horrific territory. What will the grim future hold for them? Oh and by the way, do we need to tell you where some of those friends met each other and who’s Skyler’s father is? Don’t think so…

Boone wasn’t only the director of this movie but also the writer. Well, one of the writers. To bring this horror story to life, he got the help from co-writers Mark S. Allen (“Ballbuster”, “616 Wilford Lane”), Howard Burd Allen (“Ballbuster”, “616 Wilford Lane”) and Rob Rose (“Stretch”, “Young Man Conan”). It still baffles us how four writers and their collective talent could make from “Apparition” such a miss.

First of all, there are some issues when it comes to the storyline. The makers wanted to make from “Apparition” a movie about Sam’s application and that’s also how they present it to the outside world.

However, the application only makes its entrance halfway the film. Knowing that the movie only lasts 1h 20 minutes, there’s not much room to discover the application and the effects that it has on the people using it.

The first part of the movie during which it only focuses on the reformatory centre should have been shorter and should also have contained much more information. That’s why “Apparition” is hard to follow, especially at the beginning.

Secondly, the characters aren’t portrayed in the best way possible and this is partly due to the lack of personality and background story. The fact that the characters have no names at the beginning makes it harder to figure out who they are in the current days.

Yes, it’s obvious that the Warden, his wife and their child (who’s all grown up now) are still alive and well. However, it’s incredibly difficult due to the lack of information about what their connection is to the group of friends who are using the application. 

Both Suvari (“The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson”, “Becks”) and Pollak (“Teacher”, “Benjamin”) are portraying their bland characters who have little personality in a fine way and they make sure that at least there are some good scenes in this movie. Especially the one where things become extremely heated between the White and Anna.

Sadly, we can’t say the same from the other actors. Is it because the underdevelopment characters or just because their interpretation isn’t on point at all? Whether the reason it, the performances hurt the eye incredibly hard.

The combination of the cinematography and the music is what makes this movie bearable to watch. The musical score by Ben Worley (“Evan’s Gambit”, “Willing To Lie”) is well-chosen and gives the movie the horror, disturbing and dark vibe it needs.

Worley’s work brings the cinematography made by Dante Yore (“The Final Level: Escaping Rancala”, “D-Day”) to life in a decent way that would have created an enjoyable movie. The weak storyline just doesn’t provide the necessary scares to create a nice horror movie.

If you’re going to check out a horror film, then you expect many scary moments that will make you jump out of your chair or moments that make you look away. Alongside that, you also hope for creepy and frightening music and dark and gloomy cinematography.

Well, that’s not what you get when watching “Apparition”. Instead, you will get a difficult story and half-written characters that are poorly performed.

Apparition is now available on Digital Download.

A group of young people, guided by an app which connects living with the dead, find themselves at an abandoned castle. A place with a horrific history tied to each of them, for reasons they'll soon discover.

2nd October 2020

Waymon Boone

Waymon Boone, Mark S. Allen, Howard Burd, Rob Rose

Running Time:
1h s23min

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