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Vanishing on 7th Street

A movie directed by Brad Anderson

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Boring, repetItive, mostly left in the dark.

  • Sep 25, 2011
** out of ****

For what it is, I guess "Vanishing on 7th" street can't really be called "bad". It has good intentions - and yes, ALL OF THEM are good - but such things can only go so far before you need to bring some actual creativity into the equation. I was hoping to be one of those few, but respected people that enjoyed the flick. I tried, I tried, and I tried; but kept drawing blanks when it came to why this movie might be considered good. Some people might like the fact that it's a horror film that keeps the horror from ever truly being seen; limiting atmosphere to whispers, voices, echoes, and jump scares. Not that there's any problem with that, really; the film, directed by Brad Anderson, has all the qualities of something ambitious and actually quite affective, but it stumbles when it comes to mixing artistry and overall effectiveness to make something genuinely frightening. I can appreciate it, but I can't say I enjoyed myself too much.

Anderson made the fantastically creepy "Session 9" and the highly thrilling "Transsiberian" before he made this mediocrity fest. He's a skilled filmmaker who has been able to summon apprehension and fear pretty easily in the past, but here, he appears to have nearly lost his marbles; and possibly even his taste. If there was any director - anyone at all - that I'd imagine making a film such as this one work, it would be the guy who actually ended up making it; Brad himself. I guess the problem was that he trusted some of the wrong people to write his film; to the point where even his skill and craft can't save the final product from simply vanishing from the minds of most who view it.

The lives of a movie-theater projectionist (John Leguizamo), a news reporter (Hayden Christensen), a physical therapist (Thandie Newton), and a gun-toting bartender's son (Jacob Latimore) come together when on a random night, darkness unexpectedly falls on every last inch of the un-lit earth, and people begin to disappear. Their cloths are left behind; but their bodies are nowhere to be found. The remaining survivors are granted the gift of living into the next day; where they wait for the night. This is when the fight for survival ultimately begins.

It would appear that the darkness itself is closing in on humanity; whipping it out from all existence. Why this is happening we don't know, and by the end, we haven't exactly gotten enough answers. The characters are forced to lock horns with each-other, test their wits, and stay in the light. They spend most of the film in a bar; where they do a lot of talking and a lot of hiding; as well as plenty of remembering.

The darkness makes for a good movie villain, especially in a horror film or a thriller. It's difficult to escape those dark corners of the earth; where evil tends to dwell. Here, a new kind of evil prospers; and it is taking those on earth...somewhere otherworldly. Of course, the film takes its time to set up its atmosphere, but not so-much its subjects. Or its characters. Or its drama. Or its story, even.

I don't think it quite works because the writing isn't terribly conclusive. You often feel like you're watching a half-finished film in spite of the admirable amount of effective creepiness and fantastic cinematography. The idea of the film is appealing, but what the filmmakers make of it isn't anything terrifically impressive. Still, you might want to see it just to see it; I can't stop you. Brad Anderson is a competent filmmaker of everything eerie or silently morbid. This is definitely his movie. It just isn't a very good one. The actors do their jobs and nothing more (Christensen is particularly bland, while Leguizamo is fantastic as always, but lacks a persona for his own projectionist character). In short, I feel there are some good elements here; but plenty of ones that "just don't work" as well. Is it bad? Not really. Is it good? Nope. Does it matter? That's up for you to decide. "Vanishing on 7th Street" understands the formula of dealing with the things that go bump in the night, as well as a very important rule regarding them (never show the damn things!), but I just can't recommend it. All due respect to Anderson, who must have worked hard on it; but...I can't say the same for his screenwriter, who basically made the film as disappointing and forgettable as it is.

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More Vanishing on 7th Street reviews
review by . May 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Be Afraid....Be Very Afraid...Of The Dark....
Brad Anderson, the director of “The Machinist”, “Session 9” and “Transsiberian” goes back to the horror genre with the creepy ‘shadowy’ horror film called “Vanishing On 7th Street”. The director knows how to generate suspense and that aura of mystery as he has proven in “Session 9” and while the film’s script (written by Anthony Jaswinski) may be flawed, Anderson does succeed in drawing scares from nothing as the horror …
review by . February 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'Vanishing On 7th Street' Two Jews On Film Are In The Dark With This One (Video)
Vanishing on 7th Street' is directed by Brad Anderson (The Machinest) and stars Hayden Christenson, (Luke) Thandie Newton(Rosemary) and John Leguizamo(Paul). An unexplained blackout plunges the city of Detroit into total darkness.  By the time the sun rises, only a few people remain, surrounded by heaps of empty clothing, abandoned cars and lengthening dark shadows.      Luke, Rosemarie and Paul each find their way to a rundown bar where they're greeted …
review by . February 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Brad Anderson is aiming for something here, and I have absolutely no idea what it is. His film, Vanishing on 7th Street, is chilling but impenetrable, a stylish and moody horror film that’s heavily symbolic of nothing clear or attainable. It’s founded on one of the oldest and most basic dualities there is, namely the battle between light and dark; this is a good, reliable metaphor, but it only works if the story in some way resolves …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie



Director: Brad Anderson
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: 5 February 2011 (Japan)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Anthony Jaswinski
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