Class One Apparition full movie review - Decent
I have been following Leopold since he first released "The Ballad of Jeffrey" in May. I found that on Reddit, and recently I heard that it'll be screening at the Eerie Horror Film Fest here in PA.
I love that festival, so who knows- maybe I'll stop by and see that film. It was a pretty terrible movie, horribly shot and acted, but still it had some great entertainment value. Sure it was amateur, but that didn't stop it from being a fun time.
So I saw Leopold post this film on r/horror and I thought I would give it a watch. First off this film is not horror, it's more of a drama. There really is nothing here that could be considered horror, except for some ghosts and a pair of paranormal investigators. But other than that we don't get much in this movie. Really not that much happens. The best scene is where a girl gets a fork in her eye, but other than that it is an extremely slow and boring film. The pacing is a bit off, for instance there are random scenes of a kid eating cereal or cleaning his living room. Lame! There needs to be more action and less attempts at romance. This film tries to take itself more seriously than "Ballad" and that pays off in some ways, and poorly in others. For one, Leopold's skills aren't developed enough to take on this content, and he struggles with the material. Young actors and scenes obviously shot in his living room don't necessarily make the film come off as believable. On the other hand, there are a few isolated scenes that work quite well. A few lines of great dialogue here and there. But these moments are few and far between.
The technical quality has improved a lot. Leopold is putting a lot more effort into the shot composition here, and just about everything is more interesting in it. The camera, for the most part is held still, but also manages to include a pretty good amount of movement. Leopold also learned about J and L cuts. Yay! It's about time. The audio is pretty much trash in this film, even though it was recorded at a louder decibel level it isn't all that clear and often peaks. Either he needs to invest in an external shotgun microphone, or he needs to put more effort into his sound mix. Probably both.
The acting in "Ballad" was horrendous. Absolutely terrible. But in this film, there are some fine performances here. Note that I say "fine" in regard to a bunch of kids. For actors that are essentially children, the acting is magnificent. Even though I don't believe these kids are really these characters or buy into their performances for one second, they do pull off their lines really well. I thought the black kid really stole the show, but the young woman had her moments as well, and seemed generally natural despite the stilted material she had to work with. The cast does what they can and it's often very impressive.
So even though this is a technically better film, and Leopold has improved a lot in making it, it's still kind of boring. It's just a small film, with nothing particularly gripping in it. So when the credits rolled, I was like "that's it?" But then something strange happened. I thought about it for a while, a long while, and eventually realized I admired it. For all it's flaws, it still pulls off a pretty good amount of subtlety. There's a lot of issues, but the acting and awesome music paired with a pretty sensible amount of understatement finally prevailed. So while most people could easily skip this one, it still shows the talent that Leopold undeniably has. He was able to squeeze a pretty good dramatic story out of absolutely nothing, which is in my mind the signs of a true independent filmmaker. So just because something is amateur, doesn't mean it can't be passionate and insightful as well. I say good work Leopold! He's creating more things than 90 percent of people on the internet, and makes 40 year old me feel lazy as hell. If he keeps up his determination, focus, and passion, he might make a good movie one day. So good work, and on to the next one.
But really, invest in that external microphone.