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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 12.07.10] post apocalyptic movie review scifi thriller

Year: 2010
Director: Brad Anderson
Writer: Anthony Jaswinski
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 3 out of 10

[Also be sure to check out Corridorstyle's review of the film from SITGES.]

A new Brad Anderson film is always something to look forward to especially when it looks and sounds as interesting as Vanishing on 7th Street and though our Sitges review suggested that this one was better off as a direct to DVD entry, I was hopeful that I’d enjoy it more than Corridorstyle did. That, sadly, was not meant to be.

The concept of Vanishing is an interesting one if a bit vague. The lights mysteriously go out and with it, the people disappear. The mystery of why most people disappear while a few manage to survive the blackout is solved within the first ten minutes of the film: those who had or were in the vicinity of light at the time of the blackout have survived. This is revealed rather poorly with the opening sequence which sees Paul (John Leguizamo) working as a projectionist at the local theatre. The mystery is pretty clear to the audience but it seems that Paul is a little slower on the uptake.

What’s not explained is how Luke (Hayden Christensen) figures out how to survive because all we see is him waking up in the morning aware that the power has gone out and that something is wrong and we don’t see him again until 72 hours later when he’s presented wandering the streets at night with a makeshift necklace of light. He’s looking for a car with a battery that works so that he can make his escape. He finds one, along with a bar on 7th Street which has the music blaring and the lights on. Inside he finds James, a boy who is waiting for his mom, the owner of the bar, to return. Eventually, the bar becomes the centre of the action when Rosemary (Thandie Newton) and Paul turn up there – expected considering that it’s the only place in the entire City that still has power thanks to James’ paranoid mother who had a back-up generator and a huge amount of gasoline on-hand for just this type of emergency.

What’s not explained is why the power suddenly went out and what happened to the people. There are a couple of pathetic attempts at explaining why the people have gone and in the end, writer Anthony Jaswinski chooses to introduce the mystery of the lost colony of Roanoke as an answer that doesn’t actually provide any answers. So what we’re left with is people disappearing into the shadows and then sucking in the few survivors when the lights go out.

I could overlook this ludicrous plot as something interesting and new if it wasn’t for the fact that the film doesn’t stick to the rules it lays down. At first people survive because they’re in the light but partway through the film the rules change so that you have to be holding the light and then at the end, it changes again when James survives because he falls asleep in a circle of candle light. If that’s not bad enough, there’s also the mediocre acting from everyone involved. It should come as no surprise that Christensen is bland but Newton and Leguizamo, who are generally good, sleep walk through their performances.

Vanishing on 7th Street is a disaster, an interesting concept for a story or a short film stretched too far but for all its problems, I must admit that Anderson still manages to deliver on a few scares and there are a handful of creepy scenes made that much more effective by the sound design but they’re too few and far between to make this film anything more than a forgettable, disappointing mess.

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donc48 (11 years ago) Reply

I remember he trailer for this one and being excited it was an interesting concept pity it bombed. It sounds like it just ran out of creative gas I’m really not sure the entire process of how movies get made. Maybe they should have took some a little more time and hammer out the script issues, or maybe after looking at Imdb they simply didn’t get the time they needed. People vanishing and characters investigating is something I hope somebody will run with.


agentorange (11 years ago) Reply

Ouch. Sounds like a good concept, but the script obviously needed a stronger editorial go-'round.

As I love crap like this I'll definitely be checking it out, but with only certain expectations. Too bad. I really like Anderson's stuff.


apostolos (11 years ago) Reply

the trailer realy had me going and i was waiting for i have to see this mysterius shit.I cant believe leguiziamo just goes through the motions.He is one of my fav.


Marina (11 years ago) Reply

There are still a few folks, friends that I saw the film with included, that liked it. I can't wrap my head around it because I couldn't see past the problems but there are a few that did enjoy it.


Michael Allen (11 years ago) Reply

I was looking forward to seeing this, not anymore. Thanks for killing my dream:)

John Leguizamo was great in Land of the Dead, but now going downhill. He will be like the next Michael Madsen in no time, at this rate.


J.J. (11 years ago) Reply

This sounds like a really naff version of "Forever Darkness". I'm going to wait for the real thing. This looks another Hollywood failed attempt to rip-off of a promising treatment that was doing the rounds a few years ago.


Javier (11 years ago) Reply

Saw this in Torino. Not sure you Americans really understand it. Not offense, just thought it was very compelling


Meeh (11 years ago) Reply

OMG! This movie is a rip off. This is Karen Marie Moning's idea. She is the author of the fever series and this idea and everything about it is very similar to a conept in her books! I can't believe they had the nerve to put it out!


Aarius (11 years ago) Reply

The person that wrote this review is a closed minded idiot who didn't pay attention at all. And as for the bad acting claim, that's horseshit. The acting was damn good. I love how critics, whom didn't make it in anything but complaining about something they could never and have never done, talk shit about someone else who make millions in their line of work. And those who took this persons word and passed the movie up, congratulations. You're a lazy sack of shit. Good day to all.


ZissouTheGreat (11 years ago) Reply

I am not as harsh in my judgements against the critic, who obviously didn't pay attention to the film since she describes James' mother as the owner of the bar when it is explained multiple times throughout the film that she is not, but I do have to agree with Aarius on this one. The film is presented with nail-biting suspense, high stakes at every turn, characters whose portrayals are nothing short of engaging and a great cast that will keep you on the edge of your seat praying for some sort of Deus ex Machina to save them. Do not base your judgement of this film off of the misguided, incomprehensible one of this critic; it is one every horror, thriller, suspense fan should live through for themselves.

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