The Apparition

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Apparition Movie Poster Image
Haunted house flick has some scares but lacks story.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 82 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters try to solve a problem but fail; no lessons are learned. A main character chooses to lie to his companion in an effort to protect her. He later sees this as a mistake, but he's not given the opportunity to change or grow.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters are nice people, but that's about it. The hero learns not to lie to his girlfriend, though his lesson doesn't really make him a better person. Otherwise, none of the characters does anything extraordinary.


Much more creepy scary stuff than blood. There are loud, scary noises, and characters are attacked by unseen forces. A woman is nearly suffocated by her bed sheets. Characters are dragged through walls into dark nothingness. Creepy ghosts appear briefly in the corners of the frame. A dog dies. Characters play a violent video game in a brief scene.


The movie focuses on a loving boyfriend/girlfriend couple. They tease each other and kiss. They're shown sleeping in the same bed, and they fall asleep cuddling on the couch. They're both shown in their underwear. The girl takes a shower in one scene. No nudity is shown, but she's viewed through an opaque shower curtain, and there are out-of-focus shots from inside the shower. A character uses a video camera to jokingly film a girl's behind.


A few uses of "s--t," plus "hell," "damn," "son of a bitch," and "oh my God."


Products shown include Apple computers and iPhones and Corona beer. A Pepsi logo, a Mountain Dew logo, and a Volkswagen logo are also glimpsed. Some scenes take place in a huge, Costco-like "box store."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters occasionally drink beer (Corona) in a background way. A character announces "I need a beer" after losing a video game.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Apparition is a haunted house movie with more scary stuff like noises, lights, shadowy figures, and unseen forces attacking the characters than actual blood. The movie focuses on a boyfriend/girlfriend couple (the latter is played by Ashley Greene from the Twilight movies), and they're shown sleeping in the same bed and walking around in their underwear. The girl takes a shower, but nothing sensitive is shown. Swearing includes several uses of "s--t" and "hell" but is otherwise mild. Teen horror fanatics may be interested, despite the film's general lack of story/quality.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBRich1914 . December 23, 2016


This is the worst movie EVER!!! Save time and money.. A little kid could have directed and made a better movie than this.
Adult Written bykathy53 August 28, 2012


This movie is pretty good. It's story is alright, but other than that it's great. I think it's okay for kids 12 and up. Definitely not any younge... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byKyle1414 July 9, 2013

Good Fun To Watch With A Friend!

This movie isn't really considered scary. Let's just say it's creepy. This movie isn't absolutely terrifying, but I think it's actually... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byCole9678 December 21, 2012

The Appar-ently not as good as I thought-tion

Even though one would think this is going ot be isn't really. It's fun and spooky at first, but eventually just wears you out. And as the aud... Continue reading

What's the story?

Ben (Sebastian Stan) and Kelly (Ashley Greene) have moved into a brand new residential development area in the middle of nowhere. They seem happy, but before long, spooky things start happening in their house: Doors suddenly open, mold starts growing, and a dog dies in the laundry room. What Kelly doesn't know is that, years earlier in college, Ben participated in an experiment to contact the "other world." The experiment went wrong and unexpectedly opened a door, letting in some kind of malevolent spirit. Now it's up to Ben's old friend Patrick (Tom Felton) to try to set things right again.

Is it any good?

The ads for THE APPARITION imply a lot more story than is actually here -- something about "if you believe in them, they can get you." But what actually happens in the movie seems to be left over from some kind of rigorous cutting session. It's less of an arc than a flatline. Which is too bad, because it seems like something worthwhile might have been here once, and writer/director Todd Lincoln takes great care in establishing the remote, empty living space, dotted with sinister electrical towers, as well as the box stores and strip malls where the characters shop and eat.

The movie's early, spooky stuff is very old fashioned and nicely effective, relying on suggestion, shadows, and sounds rather than overt monsters or blood. One of the scariest moments simply involves the characters waking up and realizing that the doors to the house are wide open. But as The Apparition goes on, the scares require more special effects, and they lose their punch. And the final stretch is as baffling as it is unsatisfying.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Apparition's violence. Compared to other horror movies, is the lack of blood and monsters more or less scary?

  • Is Ben right to lie to Kelly to protect her? Is lying better or worse than trying to protect someone's feelings or safety?

  • What is the movie about? What lesson, if any, do the characters learn?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scares

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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