In space no one can hear you yawn. Apollo 18‘s biggest sin isn’t the really awful, ridiculous monsters or the terrible science (there is full gravity inside the lunar lander while on the Moon), it’s tedium. The movie is boring as hell, an endurance challenge for even the most forgiving audience. The film, simply, is a snore.
Yet another found footage movie, Apollo 18 claims to be leaked footage from a secret Moon mission. The three astronauts on the mission think they’re placing early warning nuclear listening stations, but they’re really guinea pigs. They land at the Moon’s south pole and quickly discover the Russians have already been there - and the Russians are dead.
What then should be an escalating series of scares and anxiety becomes a slowly deflating bore. The aliens they find on the surface of the Moon are pretty lame, and in order to fill out the movie to feature length one of the astronauts gets infected by them and go crazy. Or something. By the time this happens your eyes will have glazed over and you’ll be essentially unable to give a shit about anything going on onscreen.
Apollo 18 tries many of the Paranormal Activity tricks, including an annoying low throbbing hum, but none of it works. The film is flaccid, with even the jump scares being so telegraphed that they barely register. The only tension in the movie is the audience trying to figure out the running time.
One of the film’s worst mistakes is being found footage in the first place; this story makes no sense for the style, and Apollo 18 might have had a chance to work had the film been a standard narrative. In a movie like that traditional filmmaking techniques could have created atmosphere and dread, but as a found footage film the movie is not only laughably unlikely, it’s lifeless.
I would say that Apollo 18 was one of the worst movies of the year, but I know that I’m going to completely forget it even existed after this weekend. It’s the hangnail of movies - annoying while you’re dealing with it but eventually something that has zero impact on you.