Apollo 18

Year: 2011
Studio: Dimension Films
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Producer: Timur Bekmambetov
Writer: Brian Miller
Cast: Warren Christe, Lloyd Owen, Ryan Robbins

A classic example of when not to listen to the critics – I can't for the life of me figure out what the world's film media didn't like about this movie. It had great staging, excellent period detail, and the drama, tension and scares were in perfect proportion. The scene down the hole where the astronaut only has the flash of his camera to light the way is the perfect use of the cinema medium. The only this I can attribute the non-acceptance to was fatigue with the whole found footage genre.

The conceit is that there was one more Apollo mission after the final moon landing of Apollo 17 in the 70s, and we see the result of it from various interviews and mission camera footage in the lander and orbiter, on the lunar rover and in the astronaut's suits.

After Ben (Christie) and Nate (Owen) deploy the top secret Department of Defense cargo on the surface, John (Robbins) remains in orbit. The fear is amped up slowly and starts small. The mission flag they erect disappears. Strange noises emanate from outside the lander while they're sleeping. On one of their early rover journeys they find an abandoned Soviet lander nearby, evidence of a violent struggle on board.

Everything turns on a dime when Ben says he feels something in his suit and freaks out, turning to Nate's camera to reveal something horrible-looking crawling across his face inside his helmet.

Later when Ben's lucid but changed, Nate wants nothing more than to get off the moon, aware that something awful is apparently stalking them. But it soon becomes apparent the DoD not only might have known about the danger, but is prepared to sacrifice all three men to protect their secret.

Given that the film depicts camera technology from the early 1970s (which would ordinarily be near-unwatchable for modern audiences) it's a particular feat of the story that you're hooked throughout the entire 86 minutes. It's sparse, tight and lean – the truth about what's on the moon is not only never explained, it's never even properly shown apart from a few satisfying snippets. It deserves a lot more love.

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