It’s a “Paranormal Activity” knockoff, without the found footage conceit. And it’s science vs. ghosts, in a limp salute to “Paranormal” and “Ghost Busters” before it.
Ashley Greene of “Twilight” and Sebastian Stan of “Captain America” play a young couple who find themselves living in a haunted house in a mostly-foreclosed desert subdivision.
They close doors and, in a fit of subtlety, the camera zooms in as they lock them.
“Why are the doors open?” one asks the other.
Furniture moves, the fridge is trashed. Something’s up. As in “Paranormal Activity,” one of them knows what it is and might be said to be “responsible” for it.
But “we can’t just abandon our house.” So they don’t. The “responsible” one knows that won’t help.
In an alarmingly unfriendly prologue, we see silent archival footage of a 1970s “scientific seance” in which a table levitated. We’ve also seen students, more recently, copy this “Charles Experiment” to “prove that ghosts do exist.”
So the student-scientist who uttered that line, played by Tom Felton, may be their savior. Will Harry Potter’s nemesis, Draco Malfoy, save the sexiest of the vampire Cullens of “Twilight”?
You’re way ahead of me, aren’t you?
Writer-director Todd Lincoln could be forgiven for borrowing from “Paranormal” and its clones, if he had a clue about how to generate frights. He doesn’t.
His actors aren’t any help. Ms. Greene’s performance is seriously flat and unemotional, considering she’s supposed to be scared out of her wits. Lincoln helps her by writing a shower scene, followed by a neglige scene.
Stan also so underplays this fellow that we neither share their fear, nor fear for them.
The effects are as generic as the cookie-cutter mission revival house. The soundtrack, by tomandandy, is a sort of cinematic spooky house music — overly insistent and incessant.
And when “The Apparation” ends, as perfunctorily as it began, all you can do is be happy August is almost over and the horror films that studios are more satisfied with will be here by Halloween.
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for terror/frightening images and some sensuality
Cast: Ashley Green, Tom Felton, Sebastian Stan
Credits: Written and directed by Todd Lincoln. A Warner Brothers release.
Running time: 1:22