I never got an invite to a press screening of Apollo 18, which opens today, and judging by the tumbleweeds blowing through its RottenTomatoes page, neither did anyone else. A studio not screening a film for critics is virtually always a bad sign, and judging by the reviews that are trickling out, in this case, it definitely was. But before I get to the money quotes, be aware the NASA has issued an advisory stating that the film is a work of fiction. WARNING: This is a found-footage fiction film, NOT A DOCUMENTARY. Which is really funny if you read the spoilers Pajiba put in the first sentence of their review. Guess NASA has a lot of time on their hands since we cancelled the space program.
To the Schadenfruede Shuttle! (For the record, I’m leaving the spoilers out).
…it’s slow and boring and not scary and there are only three potential victims. […] I know I’m spoiling it by giving away the film’s only secret, but I feel duty-bound to report it, to eradicate your curiosity so that it doesn’t pull you into one abominably sh*tty film.
If the glacial pacing, the lack of plot, the dearth of action, or the poor writing isn’t reason enough to avoid Apollo 18, recall also that it’s a found-footage film. Therefore, all the negative attributes described above are combined with bad lighting; grainy, blurry shots; and the inability to see much of what’s going on (or, what the director,
Gonzalo López-Gallego, calls “mood”). – Dustin Rowles, Pajiba
Derivative, dumb, suspenseless and worst of all boring, “Apollo 18” fulfills no expectations except those of the low quality of films released over Labor Day weekend, a notorious dumping ground for studio dreck. -Todd Gilchrist, ThePlaylist
‘Apollo 18’ is an affront to reason and taste, a complete failure. I am flustered by how awful “Apollo 18” is. And I am going to have a hard time fully describing it’s ineptitude if I can’t indulge a little bit in spoilers.
“Apollo 18” is that special kind of awful where it’s not fun because it’s too boring, it’s not scary because it’s too stupid, and it’s not funny because it’s too sincere. This is not so bad it’s great. It’s so bad it’s just bad, and I pity anyone who gets rooked into a viewing this weekend. -Drew McWeeny, Hitfix
With no tension built, no momentum achieved, no love for our potential victims to be had, and very little terror to be found anywhere, save for one forced jump scare, you are left with a film you would skip past on basic cable in favor of watching Iron Man for the 100th time. I barely even believed they were on the moon, much less in mortal danger. This is no fun at all. –DreadCentral
There are next to no surprising developments in the film – with the exception of how surprisingly uninteresting the alien threat turns out to be. Nearly every would-be jump-scare is telegraphed by an overly-familiar set-up: i.e. a close-up shot of one of the astronauts snoring. -Ben Kendrick, Screenrant
So yeah, it sounds like they didn’t really like it. But in the interests of fairness, it’s possible they just greatly underestimated your desire to watch astronauts snore. (“The Snoring Astronauts” — great name for an indie band).