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Dir: Gonzalo Lopéz-Gallego (King of the Hill / El Rey de la montaña)
Cast: Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, Ryan Robbins
Reason to see: Whether it is scifi or conspiracy film I was curious from the first trailer
It's been a while since we've seen a good conspiracy film, or any conspiracy film but with Apollo 18 we get back in the groove of the what ifs? and could it be? and what did happen? questions as it combines a conspiracy film with found footage feel and takes on a science fiction angle, or to be more precise a historical setting of the science fact. Put all of that together and I was definitely intrigued at the possibilities of where it may go.
The viewer gets place as an observer in the edited footage of a secret mission of Apollo 18 to the moon, so secret that the astronauts couldn’t tell anyone what they were doing which gives them a tried and true unsung hero appeal. The film even shifts vibes from an almost documentary character, or subject, set up reeling us in as viewers into the lives of the astronauts and we slip into watching, caring and listening to them more so than wondering what they are doing going to the moon.
Apollo 18 certainly takes on a few challenges being both a found footage and a conspiracy film, both are style I often enjoy especially when paired with science fiction. As a found footage/ cinéma vérité film I think it works as one of the challenges of this style is the viewer can be stumped by who edited it, but this is thankfully dealt with so it's not a question but rather an answer sitting at the back of your mind. As a conspiracy film though, id didn't quite get me as much as I was very familiar with one of the actors Warren Christie who plays Ben Anderson and I watched all summer on the show 'Alphas', and he's great in that and great in Apollo 18 but it broke the mystique of the 'could this be real?', because I knew it couldn't.
As a science fiction/horror film, Apollo 18 completely got me. I didn't know what was going to happen, or even what could happen. Because of the (edited) found format you know you won't go too long with nothing going on (like Paranormal Activity 2), but I never felt like I was waiting for something to happen. There was always something interesting drawing me to the film be it the visuals, the story, the characters or the sound; it kept be in and kept me more on edge than I expected. It had scary moments, it was surprizing and it was creepy to boot. I am, however, not to surprized that the film may not have been received well south of the border considering alternative history of this era can step on pretty firmly on the toes in terms of patriotism, but it didn't faze me.
As it is a conspiracy film I don't want to say too much about it, but if you enjoy either science fiction or horror I would say this one is well worth a look. I enjoyed it much more than I expected and I look forward to seeing it again.
- Feature Commentary with director Gonzalo Lopéz-Gallego and editor Patrick Lussier, deleted scenes, alternate scenes & alternate ending.
Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it a lot
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it to fans science fiction and/or conspiracy films
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© Shannon Ridler, 2011