Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Apollo 18 Synopsis
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.
With a lot of movies there come quite a few fads, one of the newest novelties is the "found footage" theme. You could say it goes back to the late 90's when The Blair Witch Project first hit theaters, that film was about 3 teens who go to Maryland to make a documentary about a local legend and wind up having a horrifying experience. It wasn't until 2008 that another film attempted the same concept, Cloverfield was shot in the same way only this time it was about a group of N.Y. twenty-something's who are trying to save their friend while the city is being attacked by a giant monster. Now the latest film to cash in on this craze is Apollo 18.
In the first minute of the film we learn that Apollo 17 was the last lunar mission attempted by NASA but in truth there was an Apollo 18 mission that did take place but was never released to the public and now thanks to the beauty of the internet, someone has released the footage from that mission. Three astronauts are activated by NASA to fly a top-secret mission to the moon. Since this film takes place during the Cold War, NASA claims it is to place listening devices on the moon to keep an eye on any Russian activity.
The mission goes off without a hitch, they reach orbit with no problems and after a short space flight, arrive at the moon. Two of the men, Ben Anderson (Warren Christie) and Nate Walker (Lloyd Owen) take a lander down to the moon's surface while the third stays in the shuttle in orbit to retrieve them once they have completed their assignment. Again, once they have landed everything goes as planned, they suit up, set up the first of the listening devices and return to the pod. That night they are awoken by some strange noises coming through their comm. No one can explain it and back home; Houston says it is just some interference which they are attempting to fix.
Of course that isn't the case, and as the days go by both men slowly realize this. First they discover another landing craft, this one sent by the Russians, which looks like it was destroyed and abandoned. Then they discover the body of one of the cosmonauts and then the following morning Walker is attacked while on the surface but something that got into his suit. After this the movie becomes quite predictable, Walker becomes infected and deranged, he does not wish to leave the surface, Anderson attempts to use the Russian craft to reach orbit so he can return home and of course that doesn't go well for him.
There really isn't anything good to say about this film, what should be a frightening concept (being trapped in space) winds up being incredibly boring. The film does not, at any point, give us anything that would make us care about these characters or what is happening to them. It spends too much time exploring the surface of the moon, which is certainly spooky, but never gives you a true feeling of dread like it would have if they had kept much of the film within the lunar craft. When the movie does finally reach its conclusion and we kept the barest of glimpses at the aliens, it winds up being the largest let-down of the film.
The ad campaign for this film was that there was a reason we never returned to the moon. Apparently Apollo 13 wasn't the unluckiest number, 18 was and it will be for you if you go see this movie.