The Apology (2022) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Apology (2022) Review

Horrorific content by christina on December 20th, 2022 | Movie Review | Slow Burn, Christmas, Psychological, Single Mom, Holiday, Christmas Thriller, Mystery, Dysfunctional Family

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It's about a recovering alcoholic who's estranged ex-brother-in-law arrives uninvited to her Christmas celebration bearing the secret of what happened to her daughter who disappeared twenty years ago.

The Apology was directed by Alison Star Locke and stars Anna GunnLinus Roache (Mandy), Janeane GarofaloHolland BaileyEsmé McSherry, and Zena Leigh Logan.

The Apology (2022) Review

Shudder's new home invasion/murder mystery The Apology is dull. There's no other way to describe it. The casting and plot brief for the upcoming thriller promised a tense and suspenseful story with minimal exposition and maximum drama. Single-location settings are powerful tools that, when used properly, can provide several benefits. This, however, backfires on writer/director Alison Locke.

The narrative choices made in The Apology prevent the audience from being able to empathize with the protagonist, Anna Gunn. Linus Roache turns in a decent performance, but the film's overall lack of energy and motivation prevents it from being successful.

Darlene lost her young daughter Sally around two decades ago and has never really recovered from the loss. While she remains stoic on the outside, she is haunted by what happened and can never forget the tragedy. Darlene is still hopeful that her missing daughter will be found. She tells herself that she needs to stay sober and keep living in solitude to maintain that hope. During a lousy thunderstorm before Christmas, Darlene is left alone in her home in the wilderness. She is kept company by her next-door neighbor Gretchen, who leaves her at night. However, Darlene's night is not over yet. A familiar face from her past returns on the brink of giving up her sobriety. Jack, her former brother-in-law, appears at her door.

The film's true story begins when Jack confesses to his crime. Unfortunately, the story starts to unravel from there, losing its intrigue and charm. Even though we are not even halfway through the story, we learn the truth about Sally. Unfortunately, the lack of enthusiasm to create tension from the ensuing chaos makes learning the revelation dull and unexciting.

Locke is at a loss for effectively utilizing the setting and emotions to create a powerful performance from her actors. The blocking is especially troublesome, as it fails to effectively use the space and movement to create a compelling visual experience. In addition, it was clear that Locke struggled to keep the conversation going, and her responses were painfully awkward and lackluster. As the minutes ticked by, it became increasingly apparent that she was losing her grip on the story.

The film failed to provide close-ups or stills of the protagonist's face, hampering the audience's ability to empathize with the character. The lack of an engaging soundtrack made maintaining interest in the story challenge. These elements are critical in making such stories enjoyable to follow. It is not fair to the actors to be emotionless as they put in their best effort. But Locke's inability to show shock, horror, and utter despair makes the story's first half unenjoyable. The quality of writing in the second half of the essay was noticeably better than in the first half. This was likely due to the change in Darlene's demeanor; she showed more energy and urgency when Jack introduced a gun.

The film director finds little to no enjoyment in the moments of tension experienced throughout the movie. This is likely due to execution problems within the movie itself and its overall fragile conception. There is little for Locke to explore in her 90-minute film. With only two characters and no outside interruptions, it depended on how engaged the viewer could be with Darlene and Jack's history. It was disappointing to see the story come to an abrupt end, especially after it seemed to be progressing.

There is often some truth to the idea that people who have faced difficult circumstances can create something unique. However, in the case of The Apology, this is not the case. The movie's fundamental problem is its premise, and it is very little the actors can do to mitigate this. The second half of the film sees the protagonist descending into a state of vigilantism, where most of the problems arise. This crescendo of violence is not handled well by the actor, ultimately leading to a very problematic film. Gunn's performance in the movie is excellent, conveying Darlene's apathy, heartbreak, and helplessness in a very believable way. Her natural approach allows us to see how Darlene fits into that situation and gradually starts to work her way out. But it's still too facile to make a difference.

Worth Watching? 

The Apology is a poorly made film that lacks imagination and intelligence. The lack of attention to detail makes it very unpleasant to watch.

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