A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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).
- Parents say
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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.
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
For kids who love sci-fi and scares
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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.