Apt Pupil

Metascore
51

Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 21
  2. Negative: 3 out of 21

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Critic Reviews

  1. Despite the riveting performances of Renfro and McKellen, we're left with classic horror-movie sociopaths, evil-doers without conscience, or much to say about the nature of evil.
  2. Do director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Brandon Boyce really mean to suggest that the roots of genocide lie in homosexual desire?
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    A creepy, well-acted story of contagious evil, Apt Pupil has more than enough chilling dramatic scenes to rivet the attention but suffers from some hokey contrivances and underlying insufficiencies of motivation.
  4. This sensationalistic tale doesn't delve very far into the issues it raises.
  5. 50
    A creepy, if disjointed exploration of the nature of evil. But compared to its predecessor, it's also a bit of a disappointment.
  6. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: David Ansen
    50
    In the end, artifice overwhelms art. Apt Pupil is too serious to work as a genre movie, and too contrived to be taken seriously. [12 October 1998]
  7. 50
    Perhaps the most disappointing thing about Apt Pupil is the lack of sustained tension generated by director Bryan Singer.
  8. No matter how you judge it -- as a strict morality play or simply a psychological thriller -- Apt Pupil just doesn't make the grade.
  9. 50
    When bodies are buried in cellars and cats are thrown into lighted ovens, the film reveals itself as unworthy of its subject matter.
  10. Scares, to be sure, which is certainly one promise on which it delivers. But the film offers little insight into what it seems to be saying is essentially a mundane fact of life: When one devil leaves the world, there is always another one waiting just outside the door.
  11. Ultimately the movie disintegrates due to its own clumsiness. It's far too coincidence-driven to be believable.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. MargretH.
    May 23, 2007
    5
    Worst novella turned book ever.
  2. RDalvi
    Mar 17, 2007
    8
    Under-appreciated gem by Singer. McKellen is very nice and Renfro is surprisingly good. Very taut and brilliantly done thriller.