Halloween Mini-Review: Apparitions

Horror has really found its home on the big and the small screen. The combination of audio and visual stimulus combined with the ability to flash images rapidly and fleetingly on the screen has made it easy for film makers to build up a sense of dread and terror in audiences, and then have it pay off quickly. Also, in recent years, the prevalence of ever more graphic depictions of violence, torture and general unpleasantness has been able to horrify, if not scare, viewers quite effectively.

Sadly, with the rise of the “slasher movie”, the old fashioned ghost stories and hauntings of old have faded in to the background somewhat. That Apparitions never became truly popular is both sad and oddly fitting, considering the fate of the genre in general.

Apparitions is about a priest, Father Jacob (played by Martin Shaw), who is fated to become the next great and powerful head of the order of exorcists. Obviously, the forces of darkness don’t want this to happen and resort to all manner of tactics in order to bring about the downfall or conversion of their most dangerous and potent foe. Throughout a short series at just six episodes, the battle rages back and forth throughout England and eventually within the very heart of faith itself: the Vatican, in a complete story arc.

The side of evil is well and truly devious, and many clever twists are written in to the script to not only add interest but to increase the level of tension to almost unbearable levels. It is nearly impossible to watch a single episode; a last minute revelation will doubtless have you coming back for more before long.

Apparitions is spooky, moody and horrifying in equal measure. It is also masterfully acted, and as such it is easy to empathise with the characters – both good and evil – which further heightens the mood. And that’s the odd thing about Apparitions. It is a strange mix of things: good and evil, bitter and sweet, horror and hope. Apparitions paints a picture which you can easily find yourself believing in. The agents of darkness are persuasive. You feel sorry for them. And then you realise what is happening. You start to worry. Are they getting to me, too? Are these people really the ones who are the victims? Are those on the side that I normally term as good really the ones at fault?

And that is the genius of Apparitions. It is dark and realistic and despite the supernatural themes totally believable. Each character has their own agenda, truly believes in their cause and is devastatingly convincing.

There is nothing more terrifying than hearing the story of your most hated, sworn enemy and finding truth where you expected lies. Seeing pain where you expect rage. Feeling pity instead of hate. Wanting to help instead of hurt. Wanting to join instead of flee.

Will you embrace the dark powers this Halloween?

  • Genre: Horror-Religion-Spirituality
  • Demographic: Adult
  • Rating Out of Five: 5
  • Format: DVD
  • Find At: ABC Shop
  • Published: November, 2008

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