Apollo 18


The Moon is made not of green cheese but sentient space rocks in Apollo 18, which purports to be an edited assembly of “real” declassified recordings from the covert titular 1974 lunar mission. Ostensibly tasked with installing Cold War anti-missile systems, three American astronauts instead discover that Russians—who seem to have made their own secret voyage to the same remote vicinity, and have now disappeared—are a far less urgent threat than extraterrestrial entities of a sneaky shape-shifting nature. Director Gonzalo López-Gallego’s mock-verité aesthetics involve endlessly blurry, scratchy video (shot by a laughably implausible number of different cameras) and otherworldly howls that ineffectively strive to create suspense from half-glimpsed shadows and indecipherable screaming. His this-is-authentic conceit is by now a tediously corny device, and his story delivers no scares during the interminably long, uneventful build-up to its deflating climax. Nefarious government plots, nostalgic home movies, skeletal cosmonaut corpses, bodily infection, and creepy-crawly aliens all eventually factor into the droning action, which indulges in so much distractingly herky-jerky handheld cinematography that any sense of claustrophobic terror is impossible to maintain. It’s a conspiracy theory-pandering film that merely reconfirms that most entries in the “found-footage” horror subgenre should remain lost.