The premise: a research operation dubbed “The Charles Experiment” took place in 1973 at the manor of a then-recently deceased paranormal psychologist. The purpose of these procedures was to make contact with the man’s spirit and confirm the existence of ghosts. In the modern day, a couple of college students attempt to replicate the Charles Experiment using advanced technology. Needless to say, their efforts yield horrific results. Predictably, the lab gets trashed, the lights quiver, and a table careens from one side of the room to the other with great force. Unpredictably, however, the mysterious force drags one of the students into a cement wall, where I assume she is never heard from again.
But these awful test results continue to trail the path of young experimenter Ben (Sebastian Stan), as well as his girlfriend Kelly (Ashley Greene). Something tells me these two performers were denied acting roles in “Final Destination 5.” I’ll give you a moment to wrap your head around that statement if necessary.
This couple is caring for an investment home owned by one of their parents in a sparsely populated subdivision when all sorts of strange phenomena start happening. Black soot covers the countertops. Plants wilt at record speed. Bars of soap corrode right before your very eyes. All the dresses in the closet are tied up in unsightly knots. A moldy structure identical to a hornet’s nest is festering in the corner of the ceiling. All the doors are flung wide open despite manual locks and digital security systems. Things go bump in the night. It’s one of those movies.
“The Apparition” is like a poor man’s version of “Paranormal Activity,” although its production budget is likely much greater than all three “Paranormal Activity” films combined. But whereas those films were able to use their scant resources to summon up genuine suspense, “The Apparition” is just plain silly. I laughed when the camera focuses on the bedroom furniture as it blatantly shifts position. I laughed when the spiritual entity rips a security camera out from the wall and scoots it along the ground like Bruce Campbell’s severed hand in “Evil Dead II.” I almost felt the need to excuse myself from the theater when the garage door opens itself immediately after being closed, as if to say, “that puny clicker technology is inferior to the powers of the supernatural.”