'Apollo 18' Shockya Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Starring: Warren Christie (TV’s ‘Alphas’), Lloyd Owen (‘The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones’)
The mockumentary has become a popular sub-genre in the horror film category in recent years, as the films in the genre often scare people into believing the horrifying events depicted in the plot can come true. But the new Dimension Films sci-fi horror thriller ‘Apollo 18,’ which stars Warren Christie and Lloyd Owen as two astronauts on the fabled manned mission to the moon, regrettably deviates from what makes mockumentarys so enjoyable-an interesting reasoning on why the events are being filmed, and relatable characters who can make it out of any situation.
Set in December 1973, a year after the eleventh and final known manned mission to the moon, ‘Apollo 18′ follows the U.S. government telling the public that further missions have been canceled, due to budget cuts. However, the Department of Defense sends three astronauts on a secret Apollo mission to place spy equipment on the moon’s surface to monitor the USSR.
Two of the astronauts land the craft, while the third stays in the shuttle. The two who land the craft discover an abandoned USSR pod that’s covered in blood, and a deceased Cosmonaut with a rock protruding from his leg. While the Department of Defense denies they knew of the Soviets being on the moon, the two become worried when they find their flag goes missing, and their communication equipment increasingly starts to cut out. While trying to get home, what makes matters worse is the fact that rocks that appear to turn into spiders find a way into one of the astronaut’s suits, and the possibility that aliens have landed on the moon.
‘Apollo 18′ garnered attention prior to its release, as it’s Spanish filmmaker Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s English-language directorial debut, and he has made a name for himself in the thriller genre. Bob Weinstein, the founder of Dimension Films, the studio that released the movie, has also claimed that all the footage featured is real. But the sci-fi horror thriller failed to live up to its hype, as it neglected to develop its main characters. While audiences will surely want the astronauts to survive, little is revealed about them, except that they do have families at home. Not knowing why they agreed to take part in the secret mission, what they knew about it before they launched and why they even became astronauts in the first place makes them unrelatable. Lopez-Gallego also failed to create a backstory for the astronauts, much less differentiate between the two, which makes it difficult to understand their actions and motivations.
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