It’s best approached as a kind of minimalist horror movie, short on character development and narrative logic but possessing a sort of sparse, ragged charm. The film is constructed entirely of blurry, unconvincing but oddly compelling ‘found footage’ of a secret moon mission mounted by NASA, under the direction of the Department of Defence. Three interchangeably all-American astronauts – played by actors who remain uncredited, perhaps with good reason – are sent up to plant a mysterious tracking device, ostensibly to spy on Russian missile installations. But the discovery of a Soviet spaceship, and its mysteriously deceased inhabitant, lead our plucky heroes to consider the possibility that they might not be alone.
There’s a lot about ‘Apollo 18’ that simply doesn’t work: the effects are Z-grade, the plot goes precisely nowhere and the big revelation is frankly idiotic. But there’s a fair amount to enjoy, too: the intentionally rough editing and jagged sound design create an atmosphere of unsettling uncertainty, and the film has more than its share of cheap but effective jolts. For sci-fi fans with cash to burn and 90 minutes to kill, this just about achieves liftoff.