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STUDIO: Anchor Bay Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
- Deleted Scenes
- Alternate Endings
- Commentary w/ director and editor
- DVD and digital copy included
Paranormal Activity… in space!
Written by Brian Miller. Directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego. Acted by Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen and Ryan Robbins.
Footage gleaned from the mysterious website www.lunartruth.com tells the story of the forgotten eighteenth Apollo mission. Three American astronauts arrive on the moon (it’s all hush-hush this time because the government is taking advantage of the launch to set up a top-secret spy satellite), only to discover strange footprints, weird occurrences, and evidence of a Russian lunar mission that apparently came to a bad end.
You know, I’m a fan of the found footage genre. I really am. A movie like this doesn’t have far to go in order to impress me; I’m a very receptive audience. I am absolutely part of the core fan base they are aiming at.
I’m also not one of those types who say that every found footage flick must, by definition, be a rip-off of either The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity. Having said that, it’s one thing to imitate the tone and style of a successful horror movie; it’s quite another to shoplift entire scenes from another film and transplant them into your own movie unaltered.
At one point in Apollo, one of the astronauts wakes up to find a crewmate standing over his cot, staring intently at him. Of course, we (the audience) have been watching Astronaut A stand eerily still while gazing creepily at Astronaut B for at least a full minute by this point. Now, there’s undoubtedly something unnerving about the thought of someone staring at you as you lie peacefully in bed, asleep and unaware.
But that doesn’t mean that every found footage movie needs to steal it. This scene doesn’t add anything new to the mix; it doesn’t put any kind of unique or interesting spin on the tropes established by its predecessor. It just repeats them wholesale. Before long, the Staring Scene is going to become the found footage genre’s equivalent of eerie POV shots, underage sex and ominous breathing.
The film also gets some mileage out of the old “character getting yanked off-screen by unseen forces” trick. In this case, not only are these scenes derivative, but given the nature of the threat that’s eventually revealed, I’m not even sure what it is that’s supposed to be dragging these folks into the shadows. Certainly not the… well, I won’t spoil it for you.
Don’t get me wrong; the film’s not a total loss. It’s got an interesting premise, the actors are uniformly convincing, and it’s got a heck of an ending. It just never quite manages to stake its own claim and step out of its predecessor’s shadow.
The film looks great, and the sound is more consistent than on most Blu-Rays I’ve watched. I’m used to having to chase the volume constantly with my remote, with normal dialogue coming across as unintelligible, while screams and jangling music chords (the bread and butter of any horror film) nearly blow me out of my chair. I swear my neighbors must think I’m a serial killer or something.
You’ve also got a plethora of deleted scenes, a quartet of alternate endings, and a decent commentary track featuring the director and editor, who just so happens to be long-time Wes Craven collaborator Patrick Lussier. He’s fun to listen to… if you can forgive him for Dracula 2000, that is.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars