Action Movie Fanatix Review: Apollo 18

Action Movie Fanatix review banner for Apollo 18

There’s A Reason We’ve Never Gone Back To The Moon.

Starring: Lloyd Owen, Warren Christie, Ryan Robbins

Director: Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego

2011  |  86 Minutes  |  PG-13

“Stay close.  Those Russians could be anywhere.” – Nate Walker

Apollo 17 wasn’t NASA’s last manned mission to the moon.  There was an Apollo 18 and the footage in this movie shows why we’ve never heard about it.

Every time I review a found footage movie I feel the need to re-explain the fact that I am something of a found footage junkie.  If you’ve been visiting the site for a while, you probably already know that and understand why I keep going back to the dirty well.  If you’re new to the site, you probably don’t realize just how many of these bad movies I have actually watched.  Apollo 18 isn’t great but it’s far from the worst found footage I have ever seen.

The movie does a great job making us believe that this movie actually takes place in the ‘70s.  Early clips legitimately seem like NASA archival footage.  Some small bits might even be.  I don’t know.

It does start rather slowly…  building some weak character backgrounds and junk like that.  Unfortunately, even when things start to get exciting it’s still boring.  Basically they fly to the moon, find a downed Cosmonaut spacecraft, find some dead Ruskies and panic.

With movies like this I usually try NOT to give away the twist/secret.  I’m going to do it with Apollo 18 because it’s just so stupid.  If you really don’t want to know it then just quit reading now.

Here it is…  You’ve been warned…  The aliens have been hiding on the moon all this time disguised as rocks.  Yep rocks.  We never knew they were there because they looked like rocks until it was too late for us.  I’m not talking cool rocks either…  These aren’t GoBots Rock Lords..

GoBots Rock Lords

Not even Masters of the Universe’s Rokkon or Stonedar…

Rokkon and Stonedar

We have these little guys…

Apollo 18 spider

They either just straight up kill people or they turn them into space zombies, which then do the killing for them.  Yep…

The “great” thing for a director of a found footage movie is that they never have to explain anything.  It just happened.  So there is never an explanation as to how these little rocky goblin bugs disrupt radio and video signals.  They just do.  This is great for a director/writer since they only have to do part of their actual job but pretty crappy for the audience.  As a regular viewer of this genre, I’ve seen SOOOO many half ideas turned into almost full movies…  The end result is most often a movie that pulls you in for the first 2/3s of the movie and then disappoints you for the final act.

And disappoint is exactly what Apollo 18 does.  Not just because of the dumb little rock aliens… No…  It also has the typical found-footage dumb ending and pieces of the story that can only be explained via on screen text on top of not really being all that great of an idea anyway.  I mean, the idea that Apollo 18 was a real thing WAS a pretty good idea but the fact that once they got there they encountered rock aliens was just dumb.  There’s a million and one things that would have been more interesting for them to encounter on the moon than that.  But again, not the worst found footage movie but, as is typically the case for the genre, far from the potential established by its core idea and marketing material.

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