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Vanishing On 7th Street



Released: 18th February 2011

Directed By: Brad Anderson

Starring: Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo

Certificate: 15

Reviewed By: Mitch Hansch

Labeled in the genre of Horror/ Thriller/ Mystery, Brad Anderson’s “Vanishing on 7th Street”, fails to achieve even the mildest of scares. That is unless awkwardness scares you; then this film will scare the crap out of you. Vanishing plays out like a 2nd rate “Twilight Zone” episode without the scares or conversation starter, Rod Sterling’s satire generated. If there is a message or point to Anthony Jaswinski’s bland apocalyptic tale, it was lost on this viewer.

“Vanishing On 7th Street” provides a interesting enough premise, but a serious tune-up was desperately needed on this lazy script in order to take this film to the next level. The movie opens with a movie projectionist named Paul (John Leguizamo) ripping into a Adam Sandler movie (sounds like me) when all of the sudden a few screams are heard followed by the lights going out. Paul comes out of the projectionist room to find most everyone has disappeared with only their fallen clothes left behind. A slick news reporter named Luke, played by the ever-sad-eyes Hayden Christensen wakes up to a downtown Detroit where abandoned traffic litters what should be a busy intersection, and a plane crashes in the distance; a shot that would have gotten more attention if the budget would have allowed it to. Three days later Luke and Paul have made their way to a bar (where the movie stays for the most part) that’s still lit from a gas-guzzling generator. The bar has a 12-year old boy named James (Jacob Latimore) there waiting for his mother to return and a Catholic minded distraught physical therapist named Rosemary (Thandie Newton) who’s looking for her baby (religious pun intended- as well as all the males names being names from the Bible…).

Like a thief in the night, it appears the Rapture is in full effect. The few facts that Jaswinski’s purposely-inconclusive script gives are that the sunlight in the day is getting shorter and shorter. When night does come, it’s the whispering shadows that will take your soul if you’re without a light source. We’re not given much more than that. While the shadowy villains non-discrepancy for its victims does present an intriguing new world order, we have no rules to cling to. The so-so CGI shadows whisper nothing informative or important. The script thinks the enveloping dark and whispers are enough to produce chills but when nothing more is provided, we the audience, are left with a “what’s the point?” feeling. Instead characters bicker on whether or not to leave the bar all while the bars generator is quickly fading because they can’t seem to figure out that while the juke box running may be nice for musical irony of their situation it drains A LOT of energy.

Brad Anderson is responsible for creating tension filled pieces like Session 9 (my fiancée’s favorite scary film), The Machinist, and Transsiberian but he never comes close here with this B horror effort. How many times can somebody drop their flashlight and go after it as the dark almost catches them before it gets old (rhetorical question)? Anderson does give the film a nice look but it can’t overcome what little he’s got regarding script and acting. Christensen continues to baffle me how he keeps getting work, Newton’s overacting crying scenes had me cringing, and Leguizamo’s character was there for no apparent reason. The only characters that win in “Vanishing On 7th Street” are the overt sponsors beaten over our heads through out the film. One of my favorite bad scenes in the film includes a moment where Rosemary asks Luke why after trying to turn on over 500 cars, this specific one turns on, Luke explains, “because it’s a Chevy”. Boo. AMC Theaters and Coke also get their plugs.

This reviewer advises you to skip “Vanishing On 7th Street”, unless you don’t mind 90 minutes of your life to vanish and never return.

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