The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Film written under full moon

By Joshua Knopp/managing editor

It’s the rocks. They’re evil.

In Apollo 18, a rip-off, Nate Walker (Lloyd Owen) and Ben Anderson (Warren Christie), along with command module pilot John Grey (Ryan Robbins), are sent to the moon on a previously canceled mission to set up satellites that would give the U.S. the edge in the Cold War. They are beset in their duties with electromagnetic disturbances and scary alien parasites that consciously run from cameras.

The premise of the film is insulting. A compilation of 84 hours of restricted footage, the movie demands the audience believe that these monsters have been on the moon the whole time and never bothered the missions until now.

The premise and editing — slow-motion close-ups of the evil rocks, the inclusion of a barbecue that NASA filmed for no apparent reason — actively block the audience from being sucked into the story. The willing suspension of disbelief isn’t just broken. It’s never established.

An astronaut looks on as the camera falls ominously next to a group of moon rocks. This shot is part of Apollo 18’s desperate attempt to make rocks menacing. Photo courtesy Dimension Films
An astronaut looks on as the camera falls ominously next to a group of moon rocks. This shot is part of Apollo 18’s desperate attempt to make rocks menacing. Photo courtesy Dimension Films

Another thing to take into account is if one has seen the commercial, one has pretty much seen the entire movie. The first half-hour is a chaotic mash-up of shots in which everything goes according to plan. The audience is aware that peace is about to be disrupted because of the above-mentioned sinister rock close-ups, but they knew that from the commercial as well.

On a broader scale, Apollo 18 is insulting because of the work it comes from. The movie is clearly influenced by Paranormal Activity and Alien at the exclusion of pretty much all other influences, such as logic or common sense.

There’s a certain limit to how much influence a movie can take, however. With camera work and monsters taken almost verbatim from the two pieces, the question arises, “Why watch this instead of one or two horror classics?”

Despite everything wrong with its premise, Apollo 18 does have some genuinely scary sequences, but none of them make any sense either. Ignoring the fact that shaded regions of the moon are around negative 170 degrees Celsius, Christie decides not only to explore them but to use a strobe light once every five seconds to light his way instead of a flashlight he just had. He makes this decision twice.

Other big scares are close-ups of Owen’s face with ugly makeup on, but this sequence turns into three minutes of nothing happening.

Whatever they were trying, it didn’t work. Apollo 18 comes across less as its own movie and more as Paranormal Activity and Alien put in a blender with a cup of awfulness.

Final Take: A horror movie with deep, obvious flaws in both concept and execution

Those who would enjoy it: No one who wouldn’t enjoy Paranormal Activity or Alien more

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian