Apollo 18 Movie Poster Image

Apollo 18



Fake moon-landing chiller is no Blair Witch in space.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.


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.

Not applicable

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."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

During interviews at the beginning, one of the astronauts tells a story about drinking "too many" beers at a barbecue.

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).

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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 2, 2011
DVD/Streaming release date: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

This review of Apollo 18 was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Dated but still extremely scary. Not for younger kids.
  • Tense monster movie is loud, hectic -- and scary.
  • South Korean creature feature is wild and witty.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Educator Written byKittykate93 September 5, 2011

Thrilling Sci-Fi

Overall a very good movie. Did remind me of Paranormal Activity or Cloverfield by the way the camera moved. It was very exciting and made me very jumpy at parts. The creatures are very scary because they resemble spiders. A great sci-fi!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written bybanana man13 September 3, 2011

super awesome scary sci fy

Hello guys i saw this movie the opening night its started out great and just got greater there is 4 very disturbing sceanes me and my mom jumped so many times the langue is'nt that bad besides the 2 f bombs for a couple scenes there was gore but not so much go see it it looks very real
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old September 18, 2011

wait until it is on video

it wasn't as bad as the critics rated it.to me it kind of went downhill as the movie went on.it wouldn't be too scary for younger kids, but some images may be disturbing.i found the actual aliens comical.they literally look like a bunch of rocks with legs.i closed my eyes when the gory part happened,so i can't say how bad that part was.the aliens look computer animated, so it takes away from the effect a little.i did enjoy the movie, but i should have just waited 'till it was out on video and rented it.although it wasn't as scary as i thought it would be, it'll definitly make kids change their minds about being an astronaut when they grow up.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing