Apollo 18 Movie Review


Apollo 18 is a found footage movie that takes the premise that the cancelled flight to the moon actually happened and the reason it was never publicised is because the mission went horribly wrong. We see the story unfold through the old footage, as we follow the three astronauts played by Warren Christie, Lloyd Owen and Ryan Robbins on their secret mission to deploy a series of beacons onto the moon, to apparently receive or alert the Americans to any potential threats from the Russians.  We meet the crew through footage and interviews of them, which I liked, it’s a unique way to introduce the characters and sets up the movie.  As the crew orbit and land on the moon they find that something strange is going on, when they find a Russian LK Lander on the moon with no crew, and start to doubt the real reasons for the mission.

There are a few things you want from space mission movies, firstly you want claustrophobic scenes and the tense unknown atmosphere that space seems to offer. Apollo 18 has both these boxes checked and the found footage style adds to this immensely.  Previous movies that dealt with similar topics are Mission to Mars and Red Planet, both of which were too cheesy and ultimately ridiculous.  Apollo 18 gets the tone exactly right, it’s tense its claustrophobic and it never gets ridiculous, for this reason it’s personally my favourite movie in this rather small category and despite the underwhelming reviews for it, which I understand, it’s still head and shoulders above the competition.

The direction is great from Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego and I’d love to know more about how much involvement Timur Bekmambetov had in the movie as he’s listed as the producer.  But as far as this style of movie making goes, Apollo 18 looks great, its got grainy washed out footage and all kinds of cool artefacts on the film, and during the films runtime it does pull you in.

The pace and story evolve slowly and the actors do a pretty good job with the minimal dialogue they have, the movie is all about atmosphere and style, and it has both in spades.  If you want a Hollywood movie with a big storyline, a big budget and a traditional ending, then Apollo 18 is not for you. If you like tense, claustrophobic science fiction films that don’t aim to high, and aren’t your typical Hollywood flick, then Apollo 18 is definitely going to be right for you.