In Outer Space, only the privileged can hear you scream...and it's a secret.
The June 20th, 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing was certainly one of America’s finest historical and technological moments. When Neil Armstrong stepped on the cold desolate lunar surface and spoke that immortal quote; that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind, people across the globe cheered and it appeared that this was the beginning of what would eventually lead to a colonization of a moon base.
In the years to follow, there were five more lunar missions, some succeeding and some failing. These abruptly ended in 1972 and we never went back. Why?
The new horror based Apollo 18 film asks this question in a conspiracy theory type premise. Told through supposedly newly found footage of a fictitious 1974 top secret mission headed by the Department of Defense, (not NASA), it does offer creditability.
While the movie may not utilize typical horror monsters, ala Freddy, Jason or Leatherface, nor does it rely on a spiritual floating apparition concept, it does have that invading Alien and we’re all doomed feel, (minus the size and acid dripping teeth). The chilling aspect comes in the form of complete and utter less isolation coupled with a potential horrifying unknown vicious creature or creatures. And, it is the limited showing of the creature or creatures that is psychologically most terrifying. In this case, less was more.
The highly secretive mission was supposed to be (according to the astronauts), only a two day exploration to place sophisticated motion sensor cameras on the lunar surface to enable monitoring from Earth. It turns out that the Department of Defense knew more than the astronauts were led to believe.
By taking on a historically accurate type narration, shown through bits and pieces of the footage, the movie is quite believable. Director Gonzalo Lopez-Goodman effectively maintained suspense and incorporated just the right amount of revelation (quick, startling shots), and Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, and Ryan Robbins each played the roles of intelligent astronaut guinea pigs well. No over-the-top acting here. Each performed as one would expect the members of America’s space program to act; calm, rational, calculating and logical.
Watching this movie, I found myself feeling a bevy of emotions from pride to fright to anger. The latter coming in the film’s last ten minutes or so, which, without giving any spoilers away, seemed typical and maddening. And, although I can fully understand the reasoning, I still found myself somewhat incensed, especially when taking into consideration that if this scenario were actual, the conclusion would probably be accurate.
Therefore, overall, if you are a horror / sci-fi / thriller buff, Staying Scared highly recommends this film. On a scale of 1 to 5 Creepy Peeking Clowns, we ’d give it a 3.5. It is original, engrossing, fast paced and a refreshing change from what Hollywood horror has recently offered and certainly kept us staying scared.
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Note: Title and all photographs are the property of Apollo 18 & Associates.