Monday, 5 September 2011

Apollo 18 (Film Review)

Paranormal Activity IN SPACE!

Right, with that out of the way: Apollo 18.
The story is mostly straight forwards, there was one more Apollo mission to the moon and it ended extremely badly with mass slaughter. The astronauts there set up cameras to depict their findings and film the landing. The audience gets plenty of jump scares; it makes for a great Blair Witch esq set up, etc, etc. The problem is that the film just isn’t very good at what it does.

Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some things people will love. The faded effects of the film reel looks fairly genuine, there are some exceptionally great moments involving the aliens, and it looks like it actually took place on the moon. The problem is it’s very hard to maintain your suspense of disbelief while watching this film.
This isn’t like with other movies when walking out of the cinema you suddenly think “hey, wait a second!” to a few dubious moments, the problems are so obvious they instantly come to mind as they happen. The most obvious one being how someone on earth got a hold of the footage when it was left orbiting the moon at the conclusion.

It would be one thing to have a few of these, but almost every scene in the second half of this damn thing had massive logical errors. The more you think about them, the more you begin to realise just how big some of the plot holes are. It’s like Apollo 18 punishes you for walking into a screening with your brain still switched on.
It also feels like there were more than a few script rewrites and the creative team were split on which direction to take the film in. The aliens themselves are an intensely creepy threat, but half the time they seem to have been written like they’re a self aware menacing force and the rest like they’re just a colony of insects.

It feels all the more disappointing as the film actually had a great first part. There’s some good banter between characters, they’re all genuinely likable and despite a few hiccups most of the factual aspects of the film seems to be spot on. The atmosphere is slowly built up upon several discoveries and you never see the villains until a considerable way into this flick, the way an alien threat should be used.
And then the aliens steal the American flag the astronauts planted on the moon and the film starts spouting “mankind came to the moon in peace but instead it shall rest in peace”. In the space of one scene the film switched gears from very creepy to goofy as all hell.

If you’re not a fan of found footage films then Apollo 18 is not going to endear you to the sub-genre. The film will probably please hardcore horror fanatics and those who’ve enjoyed the Paranormal Activity films. For everyone else: save your money for something better.


Apollo 18 and all related characters and media are owned by Bazelevs Group.


  1. It isn't as bad as you say it was. I found it very entertaining. At the end of the day, it's a flaming sci-fic film. They can do what they want with it and I think this film has had too many bad reviews in my opinion. The sets and the way it was filmed (Cloverfield, Blair Witch) was beautiful. I think they did a very good job. It's something original and seems very realistic and I praise that.

  2. Just got the Apollo 18 blu ray on sale. I just figured out how the film footage would have got back to earth. The Soviet LK on the surface didn't travel to the moon by itself. It had a LOK spacecraft in lunar orbit just like the Apollo Command Module. After the LK and Command Module collided in lunar orbit the remaining Soviet cosmonaut in the LOK could have done a rendezvous with the wreckage, retrieved the film and brought it back to earth.