The Apparition Trailer

The Apparition is a horror film with an all-star teen-friendly cast. There's that girl from Twilight. Oh look, it's the bad boy of Harry Potter. Cynicism aside, the casting is appropriate as the leads are all supposed to be grad students studying the science of paranormal activity. The Apparition PosterThe trailer starts, "There is a scientific theory that paranormal events are problems of the human mind and ghosts only exist because we believe in them." I believe that theory originates in Richard Matheson's Hell House. It might have been Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. I haven't read that recently enough to recall if it's one of the devices borrowed for Matheson's novel/critique hybrid.

But I digress. It's a cool concept that hasn't been explored much on film recently. Sure, there are routinely characters who meet their end because they don't believe. But what about the ones who do? They're usually the victors. They survive because they know the rules and play the game.

Writer/director Todd Lincoln has flipped the script. If the characters don't try to believe in paranormal activity, they can't be harmed. They're only in danger because they want to believe a particular theory is real. They test it and set themselves up for their own demise.

In other words, the enemy is human innovation and science in a paranormal horror movie. That's something different. Science/innovation is usually left to monster movies. A few ghost stories have pulled out the paranormal investigation card--Matheson and Jackson didn't even start that--but to actually blame science for the haunting is a genius twist.

The concern I have comes from another PG-13 horror. How far can they go with this concept without crossing into R-territory? We already see a young woman dragged through a cement wall, screaming for her life. Is this a "wow, I can't believe you can get away with that in a PG-13" situation or a "cut away from what actually happens to bring in the kids" situation? It's too early to make that call.

Thoughts on the trailer? It's pretty eerie, no? Sound off below. Love to hear from you.

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Of Note: Certified Copy Blu-ray: Criterion Collection