Apart from being one of the more accessible film genres that anyone with access to recording equipment can feasibly pull off, there are still plenty of areas to explore in terms of story when it comes to the found footage genre. Apollo 18 reminds us that we’ve been using film to document our history since the equipment was available, and that the last frontier can be as scary as any haunted house.
The film uses a combination of stock footage from the Apollo missions. Older lenses are used to give the film a genuine late 60’s documentary feel, so that if you were looking at some of the interview scenes and you didn’t recognize any of the actors, you might be justified in believing that this was actual footage of a secret mission to drop listening devices on the moon. Fancy camera work, combined with stunt harnesses and enforced method acting are used to give the illusion that the actors are in a genuine zero gravity environment, which is doubly aided by the fact that the set for the lunar module is faithfully recreated. The scenes on the actual surface of the moon are so realistic, that the minor goof of having the actors “run” across the set can be almost forgiven.
As far as the acting goes, I have no complaints. Everything about this movie should have been perfect, but once you know what the “Big Scary” thing is, the rest of the film becomes a by-the-numbers story that would be perfectly summed up as The Blair Witch Project in space. Your suspense of disbelief will really be put to the test when you read the crawl that implies that some underground “truth” movement has somehow gotten a hold of this footage (which would have to be floating around in the vacuum of space no less) and made it available through their website.
This would be a great movie to watch once, maybe twice for the riffiablity. As a gift, it would be great for fans of the found footage genre. Just don’t expect it to have the same pants filling moments that made other films of its kind so famous.