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Apollo 18

A movie directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego

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"Moon Rock Project" On The Last Apollo Lunar Flight....

  • Sep 3, 2011
Movies such as “The Blair Witch Project” and “Paranormal Activity” rely on the power of suggestion in order to generate the feeling of suspense and of a frightening situation. “Apollo 18” takes the same gimmick and suggests that the film has been edited from 84 minutes of actual footage uploaded by an “unknown someone” on the internet. The film suggests that it is real, and that you are about to see some real footage much like what “The Fourth Kind” had claimed. Director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego (this is first English-language film) and producer Timur Bekmambetov (9, Wanted) would have their viewers believe that while the government had officially declared Apollo 17 to be the last Lunar mission, there was one last top-secret flight to the moon that never came back, and which was covered up. This film is supposed to be some real footage and even the filmmakers made some rather bold publicity stunts to promote the movie.

                     A scene from "Apollo 18."

Its claims to be inspired by ‘real events’ and footage are fake, and is part of its marketing ploy to draw in more viewers. I mean, you would know it was a hoax as soon as you see the film’s climax. “Apollo 18” takes the premise of a found-footage documentary style to exude realism and declares this is the real story why NASA had abandoned the Apollo Moon missions. The plot involves a government cover up of the last Lunar landing, where its small crew of three (composed of Lloyd Owen, Warren Christie and Ryan Robbins) discovers unknown life forms and they begin to attack them. In the film’s trailers and posters, it also reveals a footprint made by a Soviet cosmonaut, and that the Russians have indeed landed on the moon themselves (they’ve sent the first man in space after all).

What “Apollo 18” does right is the way it is edited and how the direction plays with the concept of real footage. The atmosphere is very rough, and does barely feel like it is a movie. It could easily fool someone in buying into the fact that it is ‘actual footage’, so I have to give kudos to Lopez-Gallego and editor Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry) in executing the film’s cinematography to express that claustrophobic feeling. It is easy to feel helpless in an environment such as the moon, and the film uses several editing tricks to make the viewer feel afraid and dreadful. They use some meditative fixed camera and then cut by electronic interferences, really abrasive lighting effects, and the “footage” swings from standard to widescreen from time to time, as well really rough black and white images to muted color schemes. The film does feel like it was shot by a camera made in the early 70’s and the angling makes for a convincing experience. Yes, the film can look very creepy and unsettling, the film makers knew what they were doing with the film and the ‘suggestion’ of edited from real footage does feel like it could bear fruit.

                    A scene from "Apollo 18."

To keep track of our astronauts, the film uses hand-held camera to explain what was captured in the “footage”. I liked the way the direction used different textures, and occasional monochromatic color tones to the film; and they even remembered to put some supposed “film damage”. The film is edited well, and while the script does feel very fragmented as was intended, I have some issues with the way the film used some ‘jump scares’ to get a rise from its viewer. I am sure it was meant to make feel like a film, and while the actors had very little to work with in terms of the script, I thought they had performed well to try to give that feeling of realism. There are also references to the “Watergate scandal” that even gave the film that feeling of ‘time’ and how the government does lie to its people.

I suppose for one to enjoy “Apollo 18”, one needs to truly buy into the fact that it wasn’t the filmmakers intentions to make a film about men stuck and attacked on the moon, but rather make a film that would possibly make folks believe that it is real. There is no explanation as to how the footage was found and how it got to Earth; the phenomena and realism of being assaulted by alien life forms never hits a home run and is covered by dramatic “play by plays” to make for a piece of something claiming to be ‘real’. I found the film to be bold, but not exactly what it wants to be; it rather gets a bit unfocused in doing a simple film to arise tension rather than having some cheap scares and fierce tremor. I guess in the end, the trick and style made popular by “Blair Witch Project” had become predictable. Honestly, non-fans of "Blair Witch Project" and "Paranormal Activity" are better off watching something else....

RENTAL [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Apollo 18."  Poster art for "Apollo 18."



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September 08, 2011
Great review as always but I'm probably never going to see it as you know my utter contempt for the "hoax" films, hand-held camera videos, & supposedly found footage. It's waaay too gimmicky for the likes of me & I've yet to see one as good as "Last Broadcast", "Under The Raven's Wing", or the completely putrid "August Underground" which I thought were rather disturbing. Even so, I think you did an excellent job in summarizing the film so I won't waste my time on it. Well, that & Pandolfi's 4 star rating. I can't trust anything he writes now after seeing his bash on "A Serbian Film" .
September 08, 2011
I'm pretty much on the same page with Bri. While I liked "Blair Witch", I'm so effin' sick of these fake documentary genre films with shaky camera work.
September 08, 2011
last recent ones I've seen done well were [REC] and [REC] 2....Spanish horror films. Brian, it all depends on our different tastes and how we see a film.....
September 08, 2011
..and Brian, I agree that the LAST BROADCAST AND AUGUST UNDERGROUND were pretty good. btw, I still owe you that review....
September 08, 2011
Which review? LOL I tried the REC films but they put me to sleep. I may try again one day as I have them at home. Maybe a second go round will make me look at them differently.
September 08, 2011
I think we should film a fake documentary....
September 06, 2011
Was wondering about this one, great review.
September 08, 2011
Thanks, Alex. You may like it if you liked the other movies in this style.
September 05, 2011
I'd wondered the same things without even seeing the film; how could it be "found film" if no one has returned to the moon? Another covered up mission? The film was somehow broadcast back to earth and kept secret all that time? Too many questions for me to even consider seeing for this one. I'll wait until I can see it for free.
September 05, 2011
Yeah, I know what you mean. The difference between this and "Paranormal Activity", Blair Witch, and The Fourth Kind was that they were believable to become real footage. It does have the right editing and style to give it a doco feel, but there is something missing. Seen FRIGHT NIGHT yet? I plan to see it maybe tomorrow...too many things going on today.
More Apollo 18 reviews
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review by . September 15, 2011
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   Apollo 18      This is a movie with tremendous potential.  Unfortunately, it was ruined by an insistence upon making the entire movie appear as bad as the actual videos sent from the moon were in the early 1970s.  There was no reason for this.  Ron Howard didn’t have to do that when making Apollo 13.  He understood that it was a film meant to entertain.  That purpose cannot possibly be served by making every scene virtually unwatchable. …
review by . January 08, 2012
APOLLO 18 Breaks Ground As A Guilty Pleasure, At Best
   APOLLO 18:   As I’ve said elsewhere, I think it’s hard not to enjoy a quality conspiracy, and mankind’s only manned off-world moon missions have been the subject of quite a few.  First, there’s the one that claims that the United States never went to moon, that it was all faked, shot on a soundstage somewhere in California, Arizona, or New Mexico.  Then, there’s the one that claims the Apollo missions were actually the cover story; what …
review by . September 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         During the 1960s and ‘70s, several missions of the Apollo program were cancelled by NASA. These included Apollos 18, 19, and 20 – the Moon-landing missions. The official reason was budget and scheduling constraints. Apollo 18, the newest discovered-footage mockumentary, is founded on the premise that the Apollo 18 mission actually was launched in December of 1974, only for the crew to never return and for the American government to seal …
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About this movie



Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
Release Date: 22 April 2011 (USA)
Screen Writer: Brian Miller, Cory Goodman
First to Review
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