A hor­ror? It most cer­tainly is, but def­i­nitely not in a good way

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Roger Moore

THE Ap­pari­tion wafts out of the ether like the ghosts of bad movies past, the very pic­ture of the cinema’s Dog Days of Au­gust.

It’s a Para­nor­mal Ac­tiv­ity knock­off, with­out the found footage con­ceit. And it’s sci­ence vs. ghosts, in a limp salute to Para­nor­mal and Ghost Busters be­fore it.

Ash­ley Greene of Twi­light and Se­bas­tian Stan of Cap­tain Amer­ica play a young cou­ple who find them­selves liv­ing in a haunted house in a mostly-fore­closed desert sub­di­vi­sion.

They lock doors and, in a fit of sub­tlety, the cam­era zooms in as they lock them.

“Why are the doors open?” one asks the other later.

Fur­ni­ture moves, the fridge is trashed. Some­thing’s up. As in Para­nor­mal Ac­tiv­ity, one of them knows what it is and might be said to be “re­spon­si­ble” for it.

But “We can’t just aban­don our house.” So they don’t. Be­sides, the “re­spon­si­ble” one knows that won’t help.

Star­ring Ash­ley Greene and Se­bas­tian Stan Polo Park PG 82 min­utes ½ out of five

In an alarm­ingly ba­nal pro­logue, we see silent archival footage of a 1970s “sci­en­tific seance” in which a ta­ble lev­i­tated. We also see students later copy this “Charles Ex­per­i­ment” to “prove that ghosts do ex­ist.”

So the stu­dent-sci­en­tist who ut­tered that line, played by Tom Fel­ton, may have the an­swers. Will Harry Pot­ter’s neme­sis, Draco Mal­foy, save the sex­i­est of the vam­pire Cul­lens of “Twi­light”? You’re way ahead of me, aren’t you? Writer-di­rec­tor Todd Lin­coln could be for­given for bor­row­ing from “Para­nor­mal” and its clones, if he had a clue about how to gen­er­ate frights. He doesn’t. “Ap­pari­tion” makes us re­al­ize just how hard it is to mas­ter that com­bi­na­tion of know­ing which lens to use, when to cut, where to cast shad­ows and how to stage shocks.

His ac­tors aren’t any help. Greene’s per­for­mance as Kelly is se­ri­ously flat and un­emo­tional, con­sid­er­ing she’s sup­posed to be scared out of her wits. Lin­coln helps her by writ­ing a shower scene, fol­lowed by an Ash­ley in a nighty scene.

Stan also so un­der­plays his char­ac­ter, Ben, that we nei­ther share their fear, nor fear for them.

The ef­fects are as generic as the cook­iecut­ter mis­sion re­vival house the film is set in. The sound­track, by toman­dandy, is a sort of cin­e­matic spooky house mu­sic — overly in­sis­tent and in­ces­sant.

When The Ap­pari­tion ends, as per­func­to­rily as it be­gins, all you can do is be happy Au­gust is al­most over and the hor­ror films that stu­dios are more sat­is­fied with will be here by Hal­loween.

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