Apollo 18, 2011 sci-fi horror film

Country: U.S.
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Verdict: 5/10…Average sci-fi horror movie
IMDb Wikipedia
Horror themes: space, unknown cause of death, creatures, infection… Filed under science fiction horror

Plot summary of Apollo 18

Officially, Apollo 17, launched December 17th, 1972 was the last manned mission to the moon. But a year later, in December of 1973, two American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon funded by the US Department of Defense. What you are about to see is the actual footage which the astronauts captured on that mission. While NASA denies its authenticity, others say it’s the real reason we’ve never gone back to the moon.

Apollo 18 (2011) – Official Trailer (YouTube)

About Apollo 18

Apollo 18 was directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego and produced by Timur Bekmambetov and Ron Schmidt, screenplay by Brian Miller. The premise of the movie – López-Gallego’s first English-language title – is that the officially canceled Apollo 18 mission was actually launched in December 1973 but never returned due to a classified disaster. As a result, the United States not attempted to return to the moon. The film is shot in a found-footage style, supposedly representing the lost footage of the doomed Apollo 18 mission that was only recently discovered.

The movie Apollo 18 was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia and features actors Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen, and Ryan Robbins. Apollo 18, distributed by Dimension Films, was promoted as a “found footage” film with no acting; in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dimension Films head Bob Weinstein denied the film was a work of fiction, stating that “We didn’t shoot anything, we found it. Found, baby!”

Apollo 18 (2011) – Official trailer #2 (YouTube)

Resources: Apollo 18

Dead Space: Downfall, 2008 animated horror

movie poster - Dead Space: Downfall, 2008 animated horror movie

Dead Space: Downfall is the animated prequel to the Electronic Arts (EA) survival horror video game of the same name. Dead Space has become quite a franchise, now including games, movies, and books.

Synopsis of Dead Space: Downfall
The USG Ishimura, a miner spaceship, is transporting a strange artifact called the Red Marker. In the Aegis VII colony, where the Red Marker was found, there are some suicides and murders and the people are slowly going mad. The people are being infected by something. Barrow, the foreman, finds the body of his wife having committed suicide. Barrow decides to escape the colony’s madness and, taking his wife’s body, goes on board the Ishimura. But something happens to Barrow’s wife on board the Ishimura.

My comments about Dead Space: Downfall
To a broad audience I would not recommend this animated sci-fi horror affair: most adults don’t want to spend their time watching animation, much less animated blood spatter, fantastically and rapidly mutating creatures, and so on. To a strictly horror audience I likewise would not recommend this flick. Actually, just don’t watch Dead Space: Downfall unless you are a fan of the video game it’s based on or a big-time animation aficionado. The animation is average, the plot is standard fare; nothing really stands out. There’s not much depth.

If you’ve seen Dead Space: Downfall and enjoyed it to any extent, but you remain unaware of or unwilling to experiment with anime (animation from Japan), then you are really missing out. Frankly, I believe all movie lovers who appreciate and enjoy animation (it’s a smallish slice of the adult population) owe it to themselves to become familiar with some of the best anime.

That old image of anime being only for young geeks is not only passe but patently false.

The truth is, if you enjoy animation but you’re still unfamiliar with anime, then you have a whole world of entertainment just waiting to be discovered! I did not test the waters of anime until after age 40 – and then I fell head-over-heels for anime, virtually immersing myself into it for a couple of years. I found quite a few anime titles that adults can enjoy without feeling they’re watching kid stuff. At a minimum any sci-fi fan should see Ghost in the Shell. Boy, did I get sidetracked…

Even though I did not praise Dead Space: Downfall, I am about to watch the sequel, Dead Space: Aftermath. I’m a fan of horror, sci-fi, and animation, and I’m a bit curious to see if this is a rare case of a superior follow-up. We shall see.

movie screenshot - Dead Space: Downfall, 2008 animated horror movie


Review of Dead Space: Downfall

Event Horizon, 1997 sci-fi horror in deep space

movie poster - Event Horizon, 1997 sci-fi horror movieCountry: U.K.
Horror themes: possession, madness, hallucinations, darkness, remote, unseen, space, hell
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson

Event Horizon is a 1997 British science fiction horror film starring Laurence Fishbourne and Sam Neill. The screenplay was written by Philip Eisner and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (Resident Evil, The Sight, Pandorum, Alien vs. Predator, others).

Synopsis of Event Horizon
In this sci-fi/horror scarefest, Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill) is a scientist and designer of a groundbreaking spacecraft called Event Horizon – built to venture far deeper into space than ever before. To accomplish such astonishingly distant space travel, the ship employs a special transport mechanism that effectively creates a black hole through which the ship can pass, allowing it to travel tremendous distances almost instantaneously. After mysteriously disappearing mid-mission seven years ago, the Event Horizon has suddenly reappeared in Neptune’s orbit, sending out a distress signal. The spaceship Lewis and Clark is sent to investigate, with Dr. Weir in tow. The crew, led by Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne), is tired and unenthusiastic about this assignment, having been taken off holiday leave for this risky and dangerous recovery mission. Furthermore, the crew finds Dr. Weir’s reports quite confusing, even unbelievable; some are convinced that he is omitting important details. When they discover the Event Horizon, they quickly discover that things are not as they seem: some kind of indeterminate life form or presence seems to have taken over the ship.

movie still - Event Horizon, 1997 sci-fi horror movie

Thoughts on Event Horizon
I found Event Horizon to be a sci-fi horror movie that’s entertaining enough for multiple viewings – spread out over a few years, of course.

Now that I am in the habit of watching all of my DVDs with the captions turned on (whenever this feature is available), I routinely notice things I did not manage to catch during previous viewings; Event Horizon was no exception. For example, when Sam Neill first exits the gravity tub during the ship’s approach to Neptune, he hears a faint, creepy voice. Thanks to the captions I caught this and knew what the soft whispers were saying.

It’s interesting to see how various comments and actions can date older movies; in Event Horizon, a couple of examples come to mind. First, smoking is allowed on the spaceship. Second, a male makes comments to a member of the fairer sex which would today be considered obvious, overt sexual harassment.

Resources: Event Horizon, 1997 sci-fi horror movie