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The Apparition: Film Review

The Apparition Ashley Greene Sebastian Stan- H 2012
Stefan Erhard/Warner Bros.

The Bottom Line

Mild scares and a go-nowhere climax haunt this suburbs-set debut.

Opens:

Friday, Aug. 24 (Warner Bros.)

Cast:

Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton

Director-Screenwriter:

Todd Lincoln

Writer-director Todd Lincoln, once in talks to remake "The Fly" for Fox, instead makes his debut with generic poltergeist fare.

Todd Lincoln's suburbia-set ghost flick The Apparition, which involves various fungus-like manifestations of the otherworldly, is in a couple of ways like dealing with a black-mold problem: You have to be a certain kind of person to get very disturbed by it, and once it's over you're quite likely to feel cheated. It might draw in the reliable genre audience on opening weekend, but word-of-mouth won't serve it well.

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Stars Ashley Greene (as Kelly) and Sebastian Stan (Ben) start off on shaky ground, exhibiting no chemistry as a young couple who, moving into a newly built home Kelly's parents own, have nothing more interesting to banter about than trips to Costco.

As they settle into their new digs, though, Lincoln finds his genre groove: Some skimpy (but PG-13-friendly) nightclothes here, some autonomously moving furniture there -- this new house is so evil it even kills the neighbors' shaggy dog, which must be particularly galling for Kelly, who wants to be a vet.

Eventually we learn this haunting's source: Back in college, Ben and his classmate Patrick (Tom Felton) did some tech-enhanced communing with the ghostly plane and opened -- wait for it -- "a rift between our world and theirs." Once contacted, Patrick brings over all sorts of broadcasting and amplification gear, convinced that playing recordings of the original experiment in reverse will send the baddies back to Purgatory.

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What Patrick's version of Bose Ghost-Canceling technology actually does, though, is shut the movie down. Lincoln's script has no knack for the pacing of cinematic exorcisms, and the truncated climax he does offer is short on action and scares. A stylish credits sequence, unspooled at the picture's end, seems to have received more attention than the story's third act.

Production: Warner Bros., Dark Castle Entertainment
Cast: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton
Director-screenwriter: Todd Lincoln
Producers: Alex Heineman, Todd Lincoln, Andrew Rona, Joel Silver
Executive producers: Daniel Alter, Sue Baden-Powell, Steve Richards
Director of photography: Daniel C. Pearl
Production designer: Steve Saklad
Music: tomandandy
Costume designer: Kimberly Adams-Galligan
Editor: Harold Parker
Rated PG-13, 82 minutes