Apollo 18

Director: Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego (2011)
Starring: Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, Ryan Robbins

There's a reason we've never gone back to the Moon. That reason isn't Transformers, apparently. Relocating The Blair Witch Project to our Moon, Apollo 18 sends a gang of unsuspecting Astronauts camping up there. What they find is more Paranormal Activity than Wallace And Gromit; less a grand day out and more screaming and being pulled into dark craters. Are you shitting me, Apollo 18? If Aliens taught us anything, it's that violent monsters and creepy creatures are more likely to get people up there poking about, not less.

Despite my never having really been a fan of found footage films ([Rec] and the odd cannibal piece aside), I was eager to see Apollo 18. The thought of a horror movie set on the Moon is an intriguing one, and the found footage bit works here, since there's largely a reason to be dragging around cameras and it's a cool way to see the environment. It sounds the part too, all crackling communication systems and R2D2 beeps. It's nicely acted by its cast of unknowns. But it's the job of an actor in this sort of film to be sort of an everyman, so they're all nice but forgettable, other than their various nasty fates and rubbish characterisation.

Unfortunately, whilst the presentation is good, the story and everything else is over familiar and predictable. It alleges a 40-year cover up from NASA. But you'd think someone (not least the 400,000 people it takes to put an operation together) would have noticed a honking great spaceship being shot up there. NASA aren't happy either, stressing that the movie and its bad science is "not a documentary." They were however, fine with Michael Bay's Dark Of The Moon. Mind you, Rosie Huntingdon Whiteley's acting was so bad there that I don't suppose you're in any danger of anyone thinking that's she's a real actual person.

I enjoyed it, although it's not particularly scary and not at all suspenseful. As space horror goes, it's certainly better than Red Planet or Mission To Mars, but falls well short of the standards as set by the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Duncan Jones's beautiful Moon.

Ultimately, the most disappointing thing about this film is that no-one at any point says "Houston, we have a problem." I was on tenterhooks the whole 75 minutes too, waiting for that.

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