By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fake moon-landing chiller is no Blair Witch in space.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The U.S. government sends three astronauts to the moon for no clear reason, seemingly expecting them to perish. It's a hopeless and depressing scenario.
Positive Role Models
Astronauts are typically cool role models, but while these characters try their best to complete their mission and be brave, they're not very likeable or admirable. They argue and panic and succumb to anger and frustration.
Violence & Scariness
Little overt violence, but there are a few scary, disturbing sequences with sudden, shocking images, such as a frightening face or a sudden movement. The worst is a gory wound on one of the astronauts that keeps getting more and more infected.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Profanity becomes fairly frequent as the horror escalates; words include infrequent use of "s--t" and "f--k," plus many uses of "hell," "damn," "goddamn," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), as well as "bastard," "d--k," "balls," and "prick."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
During interviews at the beginning, one of the astronauts tells a story about drinking "too many" beers at a barbecue.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sci-fi/horror movie -- which is told in the "found-footage" format pioneered by The Blair Witch Project and continued by Paranormal Activity and others -- revolves around a final, secret moon mission in which astronauts discover something terrible on the lunar surface. (In real life, 1972's Apollo 17 was the final mission.) There are some intense, frightening sequences, mostly based on sudden movements and scary faces. There's also a gory wound that grows worse as the story progresses. Profanity gets fairly frequent as things escalate but is more along the lines of "hell" and "goddamn" than stronger words (though there are a couple of those as well).
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 5 parent reviews
It was kinda pathetic
Report this review
Report this review
What's the Story?
Just as NASA is about to cancel its manned moon missions, it prepares for one more trip, a top-secret voyage to plant a radar device on the lunar surface to keep tabs on the Russians. The Apollo 18 mission lands successfully, and the astronauts (played by Warren Christie and Lloyd Owen) go for their moon walk. Unfortunately, they find an abandoned Russian craft, plus evidence of foul play. Soon, strange things begin happening aboard their own ship, and one of the astronauts is wounded by an unseen invader. Worse, their radio contact with Earth is knocked out. Will these brave men ever return home?
Is It Any Good?
The fake "found footage" genre has really started to wear out its welcome; this movie really shows the drawbacks and limitations of the format. APOLLO 18 always seems like an attempt at a scary movie edited by scary movie-makers, rather than an actual document from the NASA vaults. It's never convincing, except perhaps for the pre-flight interviews conducted on Earth. And the picture's constant twitching and dropping out gets annoying.
On the moon, there's hardly any drama or character development to keep things moving. The moon monsters -- when they're finally revealed -- are fairly pathetic, and we barely know the characters, so there's no one to root for. What's more, the film's general tone is so downbeat and hopeless that it's not the least bit fun. The best thing you can say about this movie is that it's not too long.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. Is it scary? In general, which has more impact -- seeing frightening things take place or knowing that they're happening but not being able to see them?
Does this film really look or feel like it's made out of real found footage? How does the editing affect that perception? How does this compare to other movies using a similar style?
- In theaters: September 2, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: December 27, 2011
- Cast: Lloyd Owen, Ryan Robbins, Warren Christie
- Director: Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego
- Studios: Dimension, Weinstein Co.
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some disturbing sequences, and language
- Last updated: April 20, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Best Horror Movies
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate