Apollo 18



Fake moon-landing chiller is no Blair Witch in space.
  • Review Date: September 2, 2011
  • 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 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

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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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
Teen, 14 years old Written byhazel119 September 28, 2011

Apollo 18

Language- profanity throughout the movie including the f-bomb. Violence- frightening scenes for younger viewers, and one nasty infected gory wound.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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