On May 21, 1973, six people conduct The Charles Experiment, a parapsychological experiment, in which they stare at a drawing of a deceased man, Charles Reamer, hoping to summon his spirit. Years later, four college students, Patrick (Tom Felton), Lydia (Julianna Guill), Ben (Sebastian Stan) and Greg (Luke Pasqualino) attempt to recreate the Charles Experiment on a larger scale by using modern technology. During the experiment, something attacks the students and pulls Lydia into the wall.
Some time later, Ben and his girlfriend Kelly (Ashley Greene) are living together. One evening, they discover strange burn marks on their counters. Kelly finds both doors wide open, even though they had locked them. They decide to change the locks and install surveillance cameras. Later, Kelly finds a large amount of mold and spores on the laundry room floor while Ben finds even more in a crawlspace. Ben gets 36 "urgent" emails from Patrick that first inform him of a new attempt at the Charles Experiment, followed by a warning that "containment failed" and finally "you are in danger".
After witnessing the apparition, the couple go to a hotel, but they are attacked there as well. As they flee, they receive a call from Patrick and meet him. Patrick explains that the initial experiment enabled a malevolent entity to enter their world, but that he has built a room surrounded by a negative current that he believes protects him from it. They return to Kelly and Ben's house to try a new experiment to contain the entity. During the experiment, the house begins to shake and break apart, then abruptly stops. While Kelly and Ben are outside, Patrick is pulled into the darkness and vanishes. Unable to find Patrick, they flee to the safety chamber in his house.
Inside the house, they hear Patrick's personal log being played back, including information about the members of the original experiment. Of the original six, two died, one committed suicide and the other three disappeared. After entering the safety chamber, Ben disappears. Kelly exits the chamber and finds Ben's contorted corpse. Patrick's narration explains that the entity gets stronger with each person it claims, and that it will wear its victims down until they are too weak to resist.
With no escape, Kelly wanders around, and enters an empty Costco. She walks to the camping section, enters a tent and waits to be killed by the entity, having fully given up resisting. A number of hands appear from behind and the entity slowly grabs hold of her as the movie cuts to black.Ashley Greene as Kelly
Sebastian Stan as Ben
Tom Felton as Patrick
Julianna Guill as Lydia
Rick Gomez as Mike
Luke Pasqualino as Greg
Anna Clark as Maggie
Tim Williams as Office Executive
Marti Matulis as Apparition
John Grady as Apparition
Suzanne Ford as Mrs. Henley
In May 2009, Todd Lincoln was named as the director and screenwriter of the project. Joel Silver cast Twilight actress Ashley Greene for the lead role of Kelly on November 5, 2009. On December 9, Lincoln announced via Twitter that pre-production had begun on the project, which was financed by Dark Castle Entertainment. On January 26, 2010, Friday the 13th actress Julianna Guill was cast in the role of Lydia. Harry Potter star Tom Felton was cast on February 8, and was joined one week later by Sebastian Stan and Luke Pasqualino. Filming began on February 26, 2010 in Berlin, Germany, with other scenes being shot in Los Angeles. On March 25, Greene shot some scenes in the Anaverde neighborhood of Palmdale, California. The project marked Lincoln's directorial debut. Silver produced with Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman.
The film was released on August 24, 2012, in 810 theaters.
The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 27, 2012.
The Apparition was criticized for its lack of originality, overuse of jump scares, poor acting and screenplay, and bad plot. It has an overall approval rating of 3% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 61 reviews, with an average rating of 2.3/10. The consensus says, "The Apparition fails to offer anything original, isn't particularly scary, and offers so little in the way of dramatic momentum that it's more likely to put you to sleep than thrill you." On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 18 out of 100, indicating "Overwhelming dislike". Much of the film's criticisms referred to a lack of originality, and similarities to other horror films, including Ju-on: The Grudge, Ring, Paranormal Activity, and Pulse. Brian Orndof from Blu-ray.com said, "The trailer for The Apparition contained more story than the picture it was promoting. In fact, I think the trailer for The Apparition is actually more of a movie than The Apparition." Mark Dujsik agreed, saying, "It's so terrible that there might actually be more tension in the numbing first act of monotonous chores than there is in anything that follows." IndieWire called the film a "hauntingly inept chiller", feeling that the film "makes no attempts to transcend or even enliven its genre". RedEye Chicago called the film "hilariously non-scary".
The Apparition was a box office bomb. The film came in at #12 in its opening weekend at the box office, with a gross of $2.84 million. According to Box Office Mojo, "With the unusually-low theater count and a practically non-existent marketing effort, it's clear Warner Bros. was trying to bury this movie, and they appear to have succeeded." As of November 2012, it grossed $4.9 million domestically and $9.6 million worldwide.
The film was nominated for Worst Film at the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards 2013.