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Apollo 18

a film by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego

As the so-called reality TV boom of the past decade or so keeps going and going and going like an undead version of the Energizer Bunny, cinema too has succumbed to the lower dregs of faux reality. The "found footage" movie, started ostensibly (or at least made famous) back in 1999 by those annoying kids in the woods of The Blair Witch Project, and now formed into a subgenre of sorts with films like Cloverfield, Redacted, The Troll Hunter and the Paranormal Activity franchise, plays at reality in the same way the obviously staged reality shows of television do.

Now the TV shows of which we speak, though ridiculous and quite irritating, at least entertain, even if it is at the lowest common denominator and geared toward the basest of human demographics (how's that for a backhanded compliment!?). And yes, even though the majority of the genre are just as irritating as their television compatriots, there have been more than a few quite enjoyable works made out of the faux reality of found footage cinema. Take my word for it though - Apollo 18, based on what supposedly happened during the final secret lunar mission (and as the poster's tagline explains, why we never went back to the moon), is not one of these.

Made to look as if culled from hours of supposed lost footage from that fateful final faux mission (there is even an attached website to make it seem all the more real), Apollo 18 tries its hand at bumps and jumps and squirms and squiggles in the dark lunar night, but instead of legit frights we just get mundane spooky noises. As Ridley Scott said, via his tagline for the first Alien, "In space no one can hear you scream." After sitting through the thankfully short running time of Apollo 18, I wonder if in space, can they hear you yawn. [09/09/11]

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