The Timur Bekmambetov-produced “found footage” flick Apollo 18 originally made in onto our Top 20 Most Anticipated Movies of 2011 list, in large part due to its intriguing premise: That NASA has spent years covering up a secret mission to the moon, for mysterious and sinister reasons.

However, excitement for the project began to deflate upon the release of an Apollo 18 teaser trailer that most everyone agreed revealed far too much about the plot twists and turns in the sci-fi/horror film. Since then, the awkward release date shuffling – and unofficial word about Apollo 18 being drastically re-edited in an attempt to salvage the project – has suggested the final product may be kind of a mess.

Now a second theatrical trailer has at last been unveiled for Apollo 18 – and, thankfully, it’s much more clandestine and effective in design. In essence, this new preview amounts to the provocative sneak peek that the actual Apollo 18 teaser trailer should have been.

Here is the official synopsis for Apollo 18:

Officially, Apollo 17, launched December 17th, 1972 was the last manned mission to the moon. But a year later, in December of 1973, two American astronauts were sent on a secret mission to the moon funded by the US Department of Defense. What you are about to see is the actual footage which the astronauts captured on that mission. While NASA denies its authenticity, others say it’s the real reason we’ve never gone back to the moon.

Find out more by watching the second Apollo 18 trailer (via Yahoo! Movies) below:

On the technical side of things, the visual and audial quality of the Apollo 18 footage strikes the right note – it legitimately looks and sounds like stock footage captured back in the 1970s. Moviegoers who were left feeling seasick due to the often disorienting “amateur” cinematography (re: intentional excessive shaky cam) of previous “found footage” monster horror films like The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield should be pleased to note that Apollo 18 doesn’t appear to have too much of that.

Whether or not Apollo 18 will have its fair share of scares, though, is a matter that remains to be settled. While this second trailer certainly does more to pique interest and make you wonder what exactly is happening to the film’s two American astronauts, the preview itself isn’t all that creepy and lacks the unsettling atmosphere of trailers for other spooky pics – like those for this year’s Insidious or the upcoming Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark remake.

Both Apollo 18 and another PG-13 Rated horror flick, Shark Night 3D, are scheduled to hit theaters at the end of this year’s summer movie season; that alone suggests that studio heads aren’t exactly confident about the box office potential of either title.

We’ll find out for certain when Apollo 18 arrives in U.S. theaters on September 2nd, 2011.

Source: Yahoo! Movies