Quinn Saunders sophomore feature effort, Apparition, is a 90 minute blur of tired plot devices, dull characters and story shortcomings. Beautiful couple Doug (Jody Quigley) and Lori (Katrina Law) take on a shoddy doer-upper in the hopes of starting a family and settling down. It’s a syrupy status quo, him a loony financier and her a ditsy arty type. The house has a history, a manifestation of evil in colonial brick and wood, warping the minds of its occupants to kill, torture and maim. After a trite argument and a bout of the drive-angries, Lori is killed and Doug throws himself in to renovating the house. Sure enough, it has its wicked way with him.
The supernatural elements take a backseat until well past the 30 minute mark, by then it’s a configuration of cliché bait and ineffectual jump-scares. The score is a typical frisson of strings and synth and the odd piano melody telling us which are the tender moments. Of the small cast, the only standout performance is from Lili Bordán as the once troubled grad student Jamie. As well as outshining everyone else, she also seems to have guzzled up the best lines.
The scares are largely drawn from the horror of losing a loved one, and the crippling fallout of grief and bereavement. A more meditative approach to this concept would have made for a tighter narrative and a more chilling study of loss. The editing isn’t bad and some of the transitions are terrific, Saunders knows what he’s doing, but first time script writers Pete Cafaro and Andrew Kayros haven’t done him any favours. Apparition is a trashy romantic drama, strung together with hackneyed supernatural flourishes that takes too much from The Amityville Horror to be anything more than one of 2014’s genre causalities.
Special Features: TBC
INFO: APPARITION / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: QUINN SAUNDERS / SCREENPLAY: PETE CAFARO, ANDREW KAYROS / STARRING: KATRINA LAW, JODY QUIGLEY, LILI BORDAN, DAVE DROXLER / RELEASE DATE: TBC