Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Warren Christie, Ryan
Robbins, Lloyd Owen
Director: Gonzalez Lopez-Gallego
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Studio: Anchor Bay
Features: See Review
Length: 88 Minutes
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Apollo 18 is the latest grandchild of The Blair Witch Project...a fiction film that poses as a documentary to make a low budget seem more effective than it is.
It's also one of the least interesting. There may not have been a movie this year that held a greater gap between the hope I held for it and the final results.
There's not much to describe as far as story goes, so this entire review may feel like a spoiler. So if you really don't want to know, skip ahead to the next section.
Apollo 17 was the last manned moon mission from the United States. Though our space exploration triumphs once enthralled the world, people were losing interest in the moon and money was better spent elsewhere. The premise of this picture is that there was one more secret mission that held the real reason we never went back.
A three man capsule is sent to the moon without the world knowing. Why? It turns out not even the astronauts knew the real reason. This purports to be the long missing footage from that mission.
For starters, they find a Russian lander on the moon. When did they get there? And what happened to the cosmonaut, who seemed to die a rather unpleasant and lonely death?
I don't quite believe what I'm about to tell you, but here it is...somehow, the moon rocks themselves are alive. They open up into spidery little creatures and begin to attack. One of the men is severely infected and starts going mad before...well, you can probably follow the rest.
Somewhere in the plot mix is a government conspiracy, the tragedy of lost heroes, and rocks. Lots of rocks were brought back from the moon. I guess we're supposed to wonder. Personally, I haven't lost any sleep over it.
I feel like there was a decent horror movie in here somewhere, but lack of development, character interest and any real semblance of a story kind of makes it all fall a little flat. The conspiracy card is old hat, and frankly, if there is one, my theory is that we actually CAN breathe in space, and the government just tells us we can't so we don't try to escape.
The video is supposed to look like crap, and it succeeds. The filmmakers may have studied For All Mankind to get the look of footage from old moon missions, but it doesn't help the integrity of this Blu-ray any. It's meant to look bad and it does...what kind of marks does that merit?
The audio is not bad, but if you're trying to pass your film off as a documentary, sudden loud music cues to accent the scares are not the way to go...they take you out of the moment. Dialogue is recorded mostly to sound like old radio communications...it is what it is.
The extras include a commentary from the director and writer, and more deleted scenes and alternate endings than I cared to watch. Apparently there are many, many ways to kill an astronaut. There is also a digital copy.
Apollo 18 offers an interesting premise but ultimately doesn't satisfy.