The Apparition (2012/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Kill
‘Em All (2012/Well Go USA
B- & C/B Sound: B- &
C+/B Extras: C/C- Films: C/C+
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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