Wednesday 4 January 2012

APOLLO 18 BLU-RAY review

Taking the found footage genre into the next logical place (Space), Apollo 18 is out on DVD and Blu-ray now. See the trailer and my review, next...

Taking part in a secret NASA mission, a group of astronauts are tasked with placing an unknown payload on the Moon's surface. Documenting the mission via an array of cameras, they soon discover the remnants of a failed Russian mission that suggests that they may not be alone.

I must admit to being cautiously excited after seeing the first trailer for Apollo 18. As an unashamed fan of the found footage sub-genre, I think that when it's done right it can be creepily effective. This time around, the film is supposedly produced from secret government footage uploaded to a conspiracy uncovering website (, and if found footage films need to nail one thing to succeed, it's the idea that they're showing you something you're not supposed to see.

It's a reasonably good, claustrophobic idea to set the film on the most isolated place in the universe (not forgetting the confined space of a spacesuit), but unfortunately a reasonably good idea is all it amounts to. Featuring some of the most atrocious uses of ADR I've ever seen, you have to wonder whether the film's constantly shifted release date was down to studio interference over the lack of scares. After all, the DVD and Blu-ray comes complete with the SIX different endings that were made for the film, all of which I'm sure were trialled in front of test audiences.

Even after the studio interference, it just isn't capable of delivering the same calibre of scares as some of its genre mates, and considering some of the talent involved (the film was produced by Night Watch director Timur Bekmambatov) I'd have expected more. Never do you feel the same kind of creeping threat that you do with the Paranormal Activity franchise, and despite one or two jumps, they rely more on loud noises (how does that work on the surface of the Moon?) than actual terror.

They've spent too much time trying to get the shaky cam right that they've really not thought important aspects of the story through properly. If we are to believe the film's tagline that "there's a reason we've never gone back to the Moon", then how did they get hold of all this footage? By setting the film in 1972 it does add some credence to the conspiracy theory angle, but it also throws up a number of plot holes that never get resolved. Also, when the boogeyman in space is finally revealed, it's underwhelming to say the least.

Apollo 18 feels overlong and drawn out which, when you consider that 10 of its short 86 minutes running time is the end credits, is a hard thing to achieve. Never has space travel seemed so dull, Apollo 18 is a film so shabbily produced I'm not even sure they've finished it yet.


Special Features: All alternative endings, deleted scenes, director and editor commentary, trailer


  1. It's too bad that this movie turned out to be a dud. It seemed like such a foolproof concept, too...

  2. Just got the Apollo 18 blu ray on sale. The question of how the film got back to Earth without another mission bugged me and I just figured out a way. The Soviet LK on the surface didn't travel to the moon by itself. It would have 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. Provided that the Soviet pilot hadn't already returned home yet.