Combustible Celluloid
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With: Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, Ryan Robbins
Written by: Brian Miller, Cory Goodman
Directed by: Gonzalo López-Gallego
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some disturbing sequences, and language
Running Time: 88
Date: 09/01/2011

Apollo 18 (2011)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Moon Stalk

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The fake found footage genre (The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, Cloverfield, etc.) has really begun to wear out its welcome; this movie really shows the limitations of the format, as well as the drawbacks. Apollo 18 always seems like an attempt at a scary movie, edited by scary movie-makers, rather than an actual document from the NASA vaults. It's never convincing, except perhaps for the pre-flight interviews conducted on earth. And the image's constant twitching and dropping out gets annoying.

Just as NASA is about to cancel its manned moon missions, it prepares for one more trip, a top secret voyage to plant a radar device on the lunar surface, to keep tabs on the Russians. The Apollo 18 mission lands successfully, and the astronauts (played by Warren Christie and Lloyd Owen) go for their moon walk. Unfortunately, they find an abandoned Russian craft, plus evidence of foul play. Soon, strange things begin happening aboard their own ship, and one of the astronauts is wounded by an unseen invader. Worse, their radio contact with earth is knocked out. Will these brave men ever return home?

On the moon, there's hardly any drama, or character development, to keep things moving. The moon monsters -- when they're finally revealed -- are fairly pathetic, and we barely know the characters, so there's no one to root for. What's more, the general tone is so downbeat and hopeless that it's not the least bit fun. The best one can say for this movie is that it's not too long.

Anchor Bay released a DVD and Blu-Ray combo set, with an option to download a digital copy. Quality is negligible, since the movie itself looks so deliberately crappy. Extras include a commentary track by the director, and editor Patrick Lussier. There are 20 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes, and four alternate endings.

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