Macabre Movie Reviews – Apollo 18

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Back in the days when the good ole’ US of A was more interested in Cold War weenie wagging than economic gains we sent out an 18th Apollo Space Mission to the moon. What we found kept us from ever going back.

So it’s review numero uno for yours truly The Undead Review here at The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog and I must say, I’m fairly happy. Not something you’ll hear from most zombies but they have a very progressive work environment here, being down with the green and all. I always appreciate an employer with an open-minded attitude towards the undead, someone who doesn’t mind having to deal with the occasional bite orientated situation, someone who doesn’t look sick to their stomach when something accidentally falls off, someone who can appreciate what it means to be zombie. Sure, I’ve had to deal with the occasional shot to a nonessential organ, or that time Ann thought it would be funny to leave a dozen metallic sporks embedded in my back, or even that time Emma set up a small landmine in the office so she could watch as I reattached my…wait a freaking minute. These guys are assholes over here. What the hell was I thinking? Damnit, I did it again. Someone offered unlimited flesh (Emma has her ways) and I jumped at the opportunity. Shit, I guess it’s a good thing the movie of the week sucked enough tall stack I could bitch to the point of making myself feel better.

{Space Rocks hate it when you put flags on the moon}

Our found footage space drama begins with a trip back to the moon during the Christmas month of 1974. America is still in the throes of the Cold War with Russia and NASA is eager to prove that democratic science will always kicks communist’s science’s ass on the playground. You think Ivan’s going to get that swing? Hell no as long as NASA has a choice. With the Space Race between America and The Soviet Union heating up to a point where neither side is going to gain anything other than a few brownie points a brave new plan is plotted out. NASA will add an extra number to a different ship and head back to a place that hasn’t managed to benefit human kind one bit, namely, the Moon. The crew is quickly recruited (all secretly mind you) and a mission is planned; three astronauts will head back up to the place werewolves call inspiration and flip off the Russians (I’m only guessing the last part but I imagine it’s not far from the truth). Unfortunately {SPOILER ALERT} the Russians got there before number 18 and were wiped out by something unknown to this solar system, something human kind can’t imagine, killer space rocks.

Where can I start on how bad this movie is? The plot actually doesn’t seem too bad, I’d watch a movie based on that premise (and unfortunately I did); the Cold War was an interesting time in American history in which lies were easily considered truth. Look at the blind, old man Mr. Magoo; the guy was made to mock the paranoia of Cold War culture. A movie about the American/Soviet space race could be something awesome, add in the imagination of those more horror inclined and this could be one of the greatest films in the popular yet sadly disappointing “found footage” genre. This is not the case.

There are a whole host of problems that kill this movie from the get go, the first being the bad footage being shown from the beginning. It’s broken on two different levels, both of which are understandable in the context of real found footage type of attitude but make for a horrible movie. Yes, I get realism in supposed to be the key foundation of a “found footage” movie but what someone forgot when it came to Apollo 18 was that we were, in the end, watching a movie. Realism is great and all but I want to watch an interesting movie based on outlandish concepts not an episode of Whale Wars with more condensed space footage and less self-righteous uselessness (some people eat whale…get over it fatass, it sure as shit ain’t vegetables keeping your gut that bulbous so give up already). This boring as hell film could have easily been a bad reality television show just as easily as it was a Sci-Fi joke on Flavor of Love. I guess I have to explain now (Paul Watson, you’re still an ass no matter what though…I’m just saying…did I mention you’re an ass Paul).

The first thing that makes this movie suck via its footage is the “jumping factor”. What I mean by this is that the movie jumps around a lot, and I mean a lot. Don’t expect to see more than one or two minutes of footage at a time for the most part. I get what they were going for, in the beginning of the film it is explained that this hour and a half of footage is gleamed from over 84 hours of footage; the idea, this film is going to jump around a lot; that being said, it doesn’t work. Again, the idea of watching a movie is what kills it right from the beginning; if you didn’t know you were watching a movie this would be cool; after knowing it’s a film, a made up grouping of scenes set to make things seem like they were real, you don’t really care about realism, you only care about having a good time while you watch several others have not such a good time. The second part of why the footage sucks is how shaky the damn camera is; I’ve seen some pretty shaky camera footage but this was easily the worse. I walked away with a bad headache and extremely nauseous, it felt like having a hangover but with none of the fun drunkenness beforehand.

Think you can get past the footage? Well, there’s no reason to try. Everything else in this movie is mediocre at best. The actors aren’t too bad, the effects are basic, and the story has some interesting elements but some pretty dumb ones too. Killer Space Rocks? Really? That was the best they could come up with when they were trying to think of evil space critters, space rocks. One thing about the story that really bugged me (other than the films comical villains) was how little they used The Cold War. It was a great story element that was almost entirely ignored.

In the end, this is just another bad addition to a genre I really hope goes away soon.

The_Undead_Review

Directed By: Gonzalo López-Gallego (El Rey de la Montaña, Nómadas)

Starring: Warren Christie (The Prince of Motor City, Beneath), Lloyd Owen (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Republic of Love), and Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary {TV}, Vampire)

Released By: Dimension Films and Apollo 18 Productions

Release Year: 2011

Release Type: Theatrical Release

MPAA Rating: PG-13