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Movie rating system (0-2) The movie is balls (2-4) A few moments but mostly bad (4-5.5) Entertaining film but lacking something to make it good. (6-7.5) A recommendation meaning a good solid watch. (8-10) must watch films, they are usually leaders in their respective genre. I can also be found on Facebook or follow my blog at the bottom of this page. THERE MAY BE MINI SPOILERS AHEAD!!! But there will be no endings/twists/cameos/or large plot reveals given.

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Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Vanishing on 7th Street

Vanishing on 7th Street
Drama (Horror, Thriller)
Rated: R
Running Time: 92 minutes
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo
Directed By: Brad Anderson
Rating: 1.5 out of 10
The city of Detroit is plunged into darkness and most of the population simply disappears. A few people try and survive by staying in the light, as monsters stalk them in the shadows.

This movie combines two of my least favorite things in horror. Those two things are the PG-13 rating, and monsters that are not able to step into the light for some reason. I obviously went in with an open mind but it was apparent quite early on that these two things were going to ruin this movie. Vanishing on 7th street is the story about the city of Detroit. After a massive blackout, most of the population simply disappears. A few survivors must work together, and more importantly stay in the light to avoid being taken by entities in the darkness.

It is like this film watched the movie The Happening, and followed the same exact formula for how not to shoot an effective horror. This film teases the viewer the same way the Happening did with a fantastic opening scene and then goes absolutely nowhere after. The film starts and we are introduced to a theatre worker as he goes about his job. After a sudden blackout, the worker is stunned to find that he is the only one left in the entire theatre complex. Adding to the mystery is everyone’s clothes and possessions are left in heaps. The emptiness of the theatre, plus the unexplained disappearances, leaves the viewer with goose bumps as the worker walks around the place. From there the film bounces to different individual survivors as they struggle to remain in the light. There are so many problems with this film that I don’t have enough space in this review to reveal them all. Instead, I will focus on the most glaring of issues as to keep it short (well, shorter.) The first main problem is with the entities that lurk in the shadows. These dark shadow people will inspire little fear because they look like they are drawn into the film with a black pencil crayon, and they are ALWAYS on screen. We get that there are monsters in the dark, you don’t need to show them for 90 percent of the film. The film also lacks consistency in almost every situation. The entities can cause massive blackouts, but cannot figure out how to deal with batteries and glow sticks? They snatch up random people in an instant, but always seem to be a step too slow for the main characters? Lastly, the shadow people’s intent is never made clear and so it leaves the viewer with more questions than answers.

The acting is less than stellar in this but Luke played by Hayden Christensen is easily the worst of the bunch. Hayden did his best to ruin Star Wars, and now he is trying to ruin the horror genre with this performance. His pained and petulant facial expressions make him unbelievable in nearly every situation in this film. It doesn’t help that the other survivors played by Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo, also put forth weaker than expected performances. The survivors also make the dumbest of decisions. They go into places where there is questionable light, they all believe everyone they know is still alive for some reason, they quarrel with each other when they should be coming up with answers, and no one thinks of starting a fire to create light. The characters were shallow individually and they sucked as a group.

As the film carries on, it gets harder and harder to take it seriously. The characters are trapped in a bar and all the so called frights are only there through their stupid decisions. These decisions mostly entail venturing out into the dark without proper supplies. It is also hard to get worked up over shadow creatures that look like they were imported straight off a 1980’s Triaminic cough syrup box. (For my younger readers, picture burned gingerbread men.) The film is plagued with situations where light seems to fade faster than is possible, and with the entities struggling to take the less than intelligent survivors. Abandoned towns should be paralyzing to behold,(See 28 Days Later) not wearisome and dismal to look at as it is with this film (That maybe just Detroit though.) As the characters struggle to coexist and find answers to their predicament, the film abruptly ends with little satisfaction. It would seem monsters capable of mass extinctions would have a better plan for success. It would also have been prudent to explain what would happen to these monsters if they ever were exposed to light, which they also fail to address.

Director Brad Anderson is mostly known for strange indie films like Session 9 and the Machinist. Give this cat a little more money (Budget est. 10 million) and he seems at a loss on how to spend it effectively. Anderson’s main focus should have been on the monsters in the dark, as they seem like after thoughts in this. I am aware I said this film was rated PG-13 earlier, but it is actually rated R which is mind boggling. His lack of key thriller/horror concepts is apparent, and I wouldn’t be opposed to showing this film to an 11 year old because of its tame nature. His characters are vapid and strange, and his plot resolutions are few. Truly this is a film lacking in creativity and more importantly legitimate scares.

I cannot recommend this film as it has all of the appeal of a city wide black out.

T Factor + If you like paranormal movies then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you like your horror movies to be jump out your seat scary then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Darkness Falls, Pulse. 

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