Oh, hi APOLLO 18!
The biggest problem with this sci-fi take on the genre is how boring the majority of it is. Because of the format, there’s way too much walking around and dull conversations instead of actual, you know, scary things. The “spookiness” includes stuff like radio static and interference, shaky camera footage, power surges, and the occasional jump scare. Eventually one of the astronaut’s gets “infected” but it still lacks any excitement or real horror.
If APOLLO 18 was shot as a regular movie with better pacing and style it might be more effective, but the plot would still be like something out of a bad SyFy Channel movie. That plot? Space crabs. Yep, the rocks on the moon rocks are actually crustacean-like extraterrestrials hiding in plain sight. It’s like the stone creature from GALAXY QUEST except smaller and less threatening. And you never get a really good look at them, with the filmmakers hiding the bad CGI with shaky, blurry footage and even cheap tactics like strobe lights.
The moon setting is portrayed convincingly enough, but this material just isn’t sufficiently interesting to sustain a feature length movie. It's one of those cases where it's pretty obvious in the first five minutes what’s going on, but you have to wait around for an hour and change before the movie catches up with you. And despite all the government cover-ups and supposed lies from NASA, APOLLO 18 doesn’t even work as a conspiracy theory movie because the historical fiction aspect is so poorly conceived and executed.
Alternate Endings (4:41): All four offer different ways the main character dies. None are all that interesting except for the one where he kills himself while chanting "Don’t come back to the moon!" That one’s funny.
Commentary by director Gonzalo Lopes-Gallego and editor Patrick Lussier: These guys muster up some enthusiasm for their film, but not enough to make it worth watching the movie.
Extra Tidbit: NASA actually had to issue a statement that the movie is fictional and not a real documentary.