So, what did I think about Waymon Boone’s film? It’s hard to say because I am a huge fan of Kevin Pollak, especially when he’s playing a mean son-of-a-bitch, which he can do with his eyes closed and still be the best part of whatever scene in which he’s performing. He’s incredibly forceful and reprehensible as the warden of the Preston School. Mena Suvari plays a great foil for his cruelty, portraying a meek yet compassionate and loving woman. However, considering that part of this story is based on actual events (which I can’t reveal without spoiling the entire film), I think it’s a little ridiculous to sully the truth with something as silly as a paranormal phone app. I know that horror movies are pretty much entirely dependent on the suspension of disbelief, but there wasn’t enough fanfare about the app’s creation, or it’s actual functionality. All the younger characters don’t seem too affected by anything until they reach the school. This isn’t to say that a haunted reform school revenge story isn’t an awesome concept. I just personally think they could’ve left the app out of it altogether and came up with a better reason for the kids to return to the school. The app is a plot device that is a little too easy.
“…an okay horror film but would’ve been much better if it were written and marketed as true crime…”
Apparition was originally titled Preston School Of Industry, which was a real place and also where the school scenes were shot. I would have preferred that they kept that title because the hokey pun of “App-arition” does not fit the serious tone of the film. I would have also liked a more straightforward exploration of the true story upon which the meat (i.e., the good part) of the film is based. Basically, I think that this is an okay horror film but would’ve been much better if it were written and marketed as true crime, or even as a more convincing revenge/ghost story. Kevin Pollak delivers an awesome performance. Though his part is small, it’s definitely worth catching. Mena Suvari delivers a couple of solid scares. Annalisa Cochrane has the potential to do more great work, although her performance didn’t really stand out ’til towards the end. The beginning and end of Apparition are great, it’s just the middle that’s a little boring and out of place. If the film had picked a lane and stuck with it, I would’ve enjoyed it more. That being said, I didn’t hate it. I was just expecting a lot more.
"…Sam has created a phone app that can connect the living and the dead..."