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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Supernatural > Demons > Possession > Murder > Haunted House > Action > Martial Arts Cycle > The Apparition (2012/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Kill ‘Em All (2012/Well Go USA Blu-ray)

The Apparition (2012/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Kill ‘Em All (2012/Well Go USA Blu-ray)


Picture: B- & C/B     Sound: B- & C+/B     Extras: C/C-     Films: C/C+



The following genre films try to be more than just the usual same and even when they don’t work, are interesting attempts at something different.



Todd Lincoln’s The Apparition (2012) is another of the new cycle of usually bad supernatural demonic possession thrillers that are the phoniest ever, from the highly overrated and cynical Paranormal Activity gimmick-fests to its seemingly endless imitators, but this tries to be something different.  The story begins with a séance in 1973 trying to contact a dead friend and unleashing a deadly, evil spirit, then the story moves to today when a young couple (Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan) start to find odd things in their new home.


In most genre films, they would be dummies and as soon as they realize what is going on, would still be dumb enough to stay and that would make us not want to root for them, making this as forgettable as it is disposable.  Instead, the makers (including Director of Photography Daniel C. Pearl, A.S.C. of Texas Chain Saw Massacre fame (both versions) try to visually and spatially build suspense as the couple is not aware immediately as to what is going on despite the Internet and some informed friends.  When they start to realize what is going on, they try to deal with it instead of surrendering their home.


Despite the ambition, this ultimately does not work because the atmosphere is not rich enough, suspense not deep enough, ideas not different enough and good old style and slick new style never cohere so the results are not good overall.  At least something different was attempted and fans will want to give it a look just the same, but it is a miss to me.


Extras include Ultraviolet Copy, plus Blu-ray exclusive featurettes The Dark Realm Of Paranormal, Haunted Asheville, The Experiment Of Apparition and The Apparition: A Cinematic Spectre.



A little more successful is Raimund Huber’s Kill ‘Em All (2012) in which a group of unrelated solo assassins are kidnapped in several incidents and put into a “killing chamber” where they’ll have to kill each other to survive.  Taunted by a mysterious voice who seems to be very knowledgeable about many things, can he get these people to get rid of each other?  Will they escape?  What is really going on here?


Set up like any other “stuck in a” story, it does not remain that way and the assassins are played by marital arts experts (as well as the villains) and I was impressed all around with the energy, fighting and pacing, which is not easy to keep going in any narrative feature.  Dialogue is amusing and some moments are a hoot, but the best part is that the makers never let this get stale or predictable, though the script is just an excuse to have fight scene after fight scene.  That is fine and the cast more than makes up for the limits of that and the talent on screen overrides everything else.  Too bad the script was not stronger, but this is fun and definitely worth a look.  The only extra is a trailer.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer in Apparition has some nice shots, but also mixes in purposely degrades/low definition shots and adding the styled down post-modern look holds back performance to its detriment, but the anamorphically enhanced DVD version is even softer and more problematic so the Blu-ray is as good as this is likely to ever look.  The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Kill is sharper, clearer and a better performer overall, though it can also have some motion blur and detail issues.


Both Blu-rays offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes with Kill having the most consistent soundfield and use of all channels, while Apparition mixes silences, monophonic sound, degraded sounds, simple stereo and other odd audio with full uses of the multi-channel tracks, so it is by nature not going to be as good.  That also leaves moments where the sound is purposely towards the front speakers, but that is to be expected for the genre.  The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Apparition DVD is weaker and not as accurate as the Blu-ray DTS-MA, but passable for the format.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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