We pretty much all saw the found footage trailer for Apollo 18 that crash landed last week. It taught us to fear space ghosts that knock over our flags and invade our space suits. Now we might have reason to fear for Bob Weinstein’s sanity.
According to his quick quote to EW, he really, really, really wants audiences to think this movie is actual found footage from a real-life secret moon mission that ended tragically. The money quote: “People intrinsically know there are secrets being held from us. Look at WikiLeaks: There are secrets that are really true to the world. It’s not bogus. We didn’t shoot anything,” Weinstein claims. “We found it. Found baby!”
The question here is whether this sort of tactic will backfire and hurt the film.
A similar situation happened with screenings of The Poughkeepsie Tapes back in 2007. The horror would have been brutal but bearable if people felt they were watching a fictional film, but when the movie was sold purely as fact it transformed the viewing experience into a vile exercise in snuff. The movie wasn’t all that great to begin with – although it helped launch John Erick Dowdle’s career – but it became unbearable solely because of the marketing. People weren’t disappointed in a bad movie; they were angry with it.
More recently, when I tried to defend The Fourth Kind from being spoiled, the resounding answer was that it deserved to be spoiled because the filmmaker was explicitly lying to the audience. Filmmaker intent is another thing to be debated, but it does seem that outright lying about the fictional nature of a fake documentary seems to rattle an audience’s cages.
Which makes sense. Lying of that kind is condescending and mean-spirited, especially if it’s to snake more cash from us. Even worse, it undercuts director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s work, not to mention the work of writer Brian Miller and every other person who worked on the production.
Since Apollo 18 is so obviously, clearly, undeniably fictional, there are only two rational reasons for Weinstein’s comments:
- He has lost his mind and believes the film actually is real.
- He thinks we’re all idiots.
The third option is that he’s a marketer first and doesn’t see the possible backlash in so fervently denying the obviously fictional nature of the film.
He’s right about one thing: people do love mystery.
But we hate being lied to.
What do you think?