Apparition AKA Remorse (2014): Confusing Disjointed and Disappointing


Katrina Law as Lori

Perhaps the name change was appropriate for Apparition. The  2014 film, directed by Quinn Saunders was originally titled Remorse and that is the feeling one has after spending 100 minutes watching this confusing, disjointed and disappointing attempt at horror. Written by Pete Cafaro and Andrew Kayros  the film follows Doug, who inadvertently  cuts short his idyllic vision of life with fiancee Lori. 

After a surprise engagement party, he and his fiancee have an argument about an old flame of Lori’s who turned up uninvited. There is a car accident and Lori dies. The film starts out very promising. Lori (Katrina Law) and Doug  (Jody Quigley) feel like a real couple. The performers have a natural interaction and chemistry that makes their relationship come over brilliantly. 

The writing in this portion also helps to facilitate the film’s promising start. Sadly, after the introductory bit where we instantly like this prank playing couple, the script and Saunders’ direction let the side down badly.

The film is meant to follow Doug’s descent into madness. The lack of logical plot lines and events allows the story to wander and leaves the viewer lost. Apparently the director could not decide what sort of film he wanted to make. Either a “haunted house tale” or a “descent into madness film.”

Early on in the film Doug has “moments” where the obligatory “shadow” moves across the camera. These incidents appear to signal a move to haunted house territory. Meant to scare, the insistence of having overly loud and discordant music accompany the movements irritates instead. On a positive note, the loud shadows soon leave the film and with their departure comes a change  for the intent of the  movie.

There seems to be several different sub-genres floating around in this muddled film. Shortly after Doug’s fiancee dies, there is a tale related by the local “crank” to the grief stricken Doug. A story of a female serial killer who lured young maiden Irish girls to the house and then murdered them.

The “hero” of the piece then interacts with the ghost of an Irish servant girl. (Possibly one of the better scenes in the film with the young working girl yelping at Doug after he startles her, “You scared me to pieces!” Sadly, like the interactions with  Lori at the start of the film, this was a “one off.”) This thread runs through the film appearing occasionally, with one clear nod to the superior  2012 Daniel Radcliffe film The Woman in Black.

Suddenly, amid all this haunted house malarky, Doug decides Lori has returned as well and the film charges off in a different direction. There is at least one other reference to the “Irish maiden murderer” later on in a dream sequence. The film suffers from a clear lack of direction in terms of editing, theme of the story and  exactly what the focus is meant to be.

This cluttered mess affects performances as well. Lili Bordán (a talented actress who looks like a cross between Famke Janssen and Courtney Cox) struggled with a role that was never allowed to reach fruition as the director kept changing the goals of the film. One never really believes the attraction between Jaime (Bordan) and Doug. Because of this it makes no logical sense that she would keep coming back to “comfort” him. 

The set of the film changes constantly and while that may have been intended to enhance the story, the differences had no attachment to the line of events.  Other problems had to do with introductions of plot devices that “appeared” out of thin air with no explanation.

The room of masks that, apparently, Lori made. The “secret” that the ghost of Lori leads Doug to find (At the time of her death she was pregnant – a fact which would have been revealed at the autopsy so it should not have been a surprise to Doug at all.) and reappearance of several specters toward the end of the film from the dropped thread of the “haunted house.”

Apparition is a real mishmash of storylines that are mixed up and plopped into the film with no real logic or attention to detail. Like the various “stages” of the house that Doug is “fixing up.” The time line, which needs to follow a logical progression regardless of the main character’s “descent into madness” is all over the place.

[For a good example of a main character losing, or having lost, their mind, it is recommended that the viewer, and Quinn Saunders,  check out the 2005 Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning film Hide and Seek directed byJohn Polson ]

While the intent is there, the film cannot deliver on any front. As it is so confusing and fails to  follow any one full thought process the ending leaves the viewer feeling annoyed and irritated. Apparition feels like a movie made after the film’s makers watched several subpar horror films and felt they could do better.

Unfortunately, they could not…

A 2 out of 5 star film streaming on US Netflix at the moment. A hearty recommendation to give this one a miss, despite the two stars for a couple of genuinely good moments and one honest jump scare. Oddly enough, it appears this film was  made again with the title The Nesting and once again directed by Quinn Saunders.  Written, also once again, by Peter Cafaro this new version will most likely be a disappointment as well.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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