There is what appears an unwritten rule in the world of film publicity – namely that, however bad a movie may be, there will always be somebody happy to say something over-the-top positively in order to get their name plastered on the promotional materials.

Which is why alarm bells are set off by Apollo 18, a low-budget flick that not only failed to get a thumbs-up quote for its cinema poster, but even for its DVD sleeve.

Having seen its release date pushed back and then sinking without trace at the box office, my expectations were extremely low.

I had actually tried to see this at my local cinema, but a fault with the projection on its final screening meant the six or so souls who had trudged to see it were left with nothing to watch.

Which is a real shame, as if I had seen it back then I would have happily provided a positive review for Dimension, as I found Apollo 18 to be an effective piece of cinema.

I think I speak for the majority of us when I say the found footage format is getting a bit tired to say the least, but if done well it is still an effective trick.

The idea behind this effort is that back in 1972 NASA sent a top-secret manned mission to the moon in order to plant a missile tracking device to keep an eye on those pesky Soviets.

Naturally everything is filmed, offering up 84 hours of footage that has supposedly been trimmed into this 80-minute ‘documentary’.

Everything starts off smoothly enough, but when two of the three astronauts embark on the moon-based element of the mission, they realise everything is not what it seems – both in what their actual mission may be and what they are likely to come across while up there.

To say too much would be to give too much away, but it is pretty obvious from the outset that things are not going to end well.

And that is the one big fault of the movie really – being such a slow-burner with a muted pay-off there is very little in terms of re-watch value, and there were a few times I glanced at my watch to see just how long it would be before they had to hurry things up.

That criticism apart there was much to enjoy – the performances from the three leads (step forward Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen and Ryan Robbins) are all good, and the claustrophobic confines of the lunar module and the spacesuits themselves add a nice layer of tension.

Using actual NASA archive footage brings some authenticity to it and in my mind raises it above the found-footage norm.

Well put together by director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, this is likely to frustrate a lot of viewers due to its slow pacing and lack of major reveal.

But as a slice of space-based paranoia this is well worth a watch on DVD, and certainly better than most would have you believe.

EXTRAS: Deleted Scenes, alternate ending, director commentary

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.

  • Hosdelagdo1

    i loved apollo 18 as well. i also just read your review for event horizon. i would say that both of these movies are destined to be cult classics. outer space horror has got to be my favorite sub genre of all time. you should check out the Disneys The black Hole and Dark Side of The Moon. you are sure to enjoy both of those.