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Vanishing on 7th Street

A movie directed by Brad Anderson

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Be Afraid....Be Very Afraid...Of The Dark....

  • May 30, 2011
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 of having your entire world collapse around proves to be the main antagonist in this horror chiller.

One day, an unexpected blackout has enveloped a small town in Detroit and when light comes back, it seems like a huge number of the population has disappeared; leaving behind a small number of survivors. They finally manage to get together under the protection of a bar running on a generator. A news anchorman Luke (Hayden Christensen), a mother named Rosemary (Thandie Newton), a theater projectionist named Paul (John Leguizamo) and a young man named James (Jacob Latimore) find that their situation after 72 hours after the great disappearance is very dire. Their sources of light are close to being depleted, the period of daylight grows shorter each day, and they must try to escape the darkness. But is there a place to go after the warning called “Croatoan” envelopes this city?

                   Hayden Christensen as Luke in ``Vanishing on 7th Street.''

                  Jacob Latimore as James and Thandie Newton as Rosemary in ``Vanishing on 7th Street.''

This film has nothing to do with the doomsday hoax of May 21, 2011. However, “Vanishing” does have several elements and themes that seemed to have been inspired by the predictions of the ‘rapture’ by Biblical scholars and religious leaders while using the mystery of the lost colony of Roanoke be the driving factor for its plot. For some reason, the film also reminds me of the acclaimed Japanese horror film “Kairo” (remade in the U.S. as “Pulse”) save for the fact that it actually tries to give an answer, though that answer is elusive. The ‘unknown’ is what makes this film move and to drive the interest from its viewers. The direction does prove to be capable of pulling it off, as Anderson is a skilled filmmaker to be able to pull off chills and scares from unknown shadowy figures where other movies such as “They” and “Darkness Falls” seemed to have very mixed results.

Anderson relies on mood, visual manipulation to pull off the suspense in the film. The film starts off quite strongly as we are introduced to the crisis (traffic accidents, botched medical operations and a plane plummeting from the sky) and how the main characters would play a part. The direction and the script gives some details that of which no one can be certain of and this works in its favor. This post-apocalyptic struggle works well albeit a little forced on some areas; nonetheless, Anderson did keep me intrigued as an unknown force prowls the night, it emerges from the shadows to engulf anyone without a light. The panic and sense of helplessness is what the film does quite well; since there is nothing more demoralizing when all seems hopeless.

                       Thandie Newton as Rosemary and Hayden Christensen as Luke in ``Vanishing on 7th Street.''

                      Hayden Christensen as Luke in ``Vanishing on 7th Street.''

                     John Leguizamo as Paul in ``Vanishing on 7th Street.''

The screenplay goes into the psychological disturbance of our characters. There are some scenes that seem to define the background and the shadowy force that seems to threaten humanity as our characters are faced with some of their concerns. They don’t know what happened and they try to make things easier for them to comprehend. The script tries to define everything through hypotheses, religious overtones and the film seems to encourage personal interpretation. Yet, I am not sure, some parts were just so indefinable and perhaps it was me, but I thought certain parts just contradicted the other. I guess this was Anderson’s intention, to let us draw our own conclusions and to never arrive at a definite answer such as the real event of Roanoke.

To the film’s credit, it is competently acted, though the direction seemed to have dwindled too much on some points of the film. I guess some parts felt a little too heavy-handed and I felt that perhaps it tried too much to be cryptic. The movie was at its most compelling when it was trying to deal with the shadowy threat head on, as the direction takes full advantage of the situation, the characters searching desperately for light and to make the viewer feel invested in the panic to keep up the tension in the scenes. “Vanishing” does have credible moments of suspense, and at the same time give a sense of indistinctness. I liked what it managed to do despite its low budget but I did feel that the script was a little too vague and too undefined to really have a solid ground to establish the development of its story.

                       John Leguizamo as Paul in ``Vanishing on 7th Street.''

This is the kind of film that introduces more questions than answers, as if Anderson was making the viewer feel the depths of its mystery. There are quite a few existential proclivity and it does some what slow down its pace; but I was rather entertained by “Vanishing on 7th Street” and it does hit some right spots albeit not exactly on target. It’s like the kind of fastfood that gets your hunger satisfied but never really fills you up nor completely satisfy you.

Timid Recommendation, Rental is Advisable [3+ Out of 5 Stars]

                                       Poster art for "Vanishing on 7th Street"

Be Afraid....Be Very Afraid...Of The Dark....

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June 15, 2012
In consideration of Session 9's strengths, your likening of this to Pulse (the best horror flick of the aughts, and probably the apex of K. Kurosawa's oddball career thus far) and hesitant recommendation, I've added this to my long list. I shan't expect too much, but your opinion holds some weight with me and Anderson's a gifted director seeking a great movie that he hasn't yet found...!
July 05, 2011
Thanks for the review; I need to see this one; had not even heard of it till you told me!
July 05, 2011
I have to admit, that it isn't perfect but it does have its appeal. It is a decent horror flick amid all the remakes and stuff. I think you'll like it.
June 07, 2011
It reminded me of The Happening, except way better. i liked how the suspenseful moments were drawn out with well written music that wasnt your typical overdramatic horror movie "something bad is about to happen" music. i liked Darkness Falls and could see the similarities in this one...the only downside was there wasnt really a point, other than not dissapearing...the ending kinda left me going uhhh did i miss something?
June 07, 2011
Now that I really think about it, this was better than THE HAPPENING and it does remind me of its theme of the unknown. However, Shyamalan's film lost momentum pretty fast while this stayed its pace until it started to give hints to what was going on. There was just nothing definitive about it, "Happening" had a theme, while this one was an exercise of being in the dark....I do like this one better.
June 07, 2011
I liked this one more too but that might be because the Happening is on my 20 worst movies i ever saw list
June 07, 2011
Hm...you haven't seen Shyamalan's "Last Airbender" have you? If you haven't, please keep it that way! Makes "The Happening" seem like an Oscar winner...LOL!
June 07, 2011
Yea i have seen it actually i made the mistake of going on a date with some guy who really wanted to see it, and he loved it by the way...needless to say that was our first and only date lol. Shayamalan has gotten more and more disappointing with every movie he makes. I really liked The Sixth Sense but i have a feeling that was the height of his career. the Village was ok but lady in the water sucked
June 01, 2011
I just want to be clear on this. Hayden Christensen is the star and it doesn't suck? Wow, I woke up this morning and found myself in an episode of "The Twilight Zone".
June 01, 2011
LOL! well, I think it was because he was 'carried' by the direction and the rest of the cast. :)
June 01, 2011
Must have been the same with "Shattered Glass" because that was a good movie too.
May 30, 2011
I liked this flick but I loved Session 9.
May 30, 2011
Loved Session 9 as well which is why I gave it a chance.
May 30, 2011
Although you admit to the mystery element, you seem to have a better grasp of this movie than I did when I saw it back in February. Even now, I have no idea what this movie was trying to say.
May 30, 2011
Thanks! This was another of those things that I was really trying to grasp what it was all about...until perhaps I thought: maybe it wasn't supposed to be defined. Still, I do see why it would be easy to dislike this film, it was just too undefined and while I appreciate an attempt at ambiguity, I am not sure...it sure didn't make that much impact with me from a narrative standpoint.
More Vanishing on 7th Street reviews
review by . September 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
** 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 …
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 …
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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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