|Index||6 reviews in total|
The writer of this film, made for television, Mark Dorff, is also the
author of another beauty, "Break-In". Both films were shot in Puerto
Rico, and both features ask the viewer to stretch his, or her,
imagination trying to absorb implausible premises that are beyond
This one, "Vanished", has an aura of the occult that doesn't make much sense. A vacationing honeymoon husband suddenly disappears from a bar after enjoying cocktails with his beautiful wife. What follows then is a young woman, alone in a strange place, where everyone she turns to is either nasty, or has a hidden agenda to harm her.
We have seen all this better done before. As directed by Michael Switzer, a man active in television, "Vanished" will not add anything to the careers of the people involved in this picture. On the plus side, we are taken to Old San Juan with its colonial architecture, and charming elegance that turns out to be the most interesting aspect of the movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This silly movie starts out well but deteriorates fast.
In an age of Natalee Holloway, and with past films like the excellent French-Dutch "Vanished," the disappearance of someone in an exotic locale seems plausible and offers intriguing dramatic possibilities.
A.J. Cook tries her best but is saddled with a ridiculous plot full of red herrings and dead-ends. I was so bored by the end of this stinker I no longer cared who had Jake or why.
I just wanted the main players to die so the movie would be over and my 10-year-old could go to bed. He claimed he wanted to stay up to see how this detritus turned out and then ranked it an 8 -- probably just to spite me!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(Some Spoilers) Mind twisting horror movie involving this happy go
lucky American couple the Carey's-Jake & Hope-who end up getting
carried away by members of this VooDoo Cult on the Island of Saint
Carlos where they went to spend their vacation.
It all started when Jake excused himself while he was having a drink with Hope in an island outdoor café to go to the john and then just disappeared into thin air. Hope trying to find what happened to her lost husband runs into all kinds of obstacles in not knowing the native language on the island Spanish and having to rely on the few local people who can speak English. It's Saint Carlos police chief Raddimas who in fact speaks perfect English without even the slightest hint of a Spanish accent who gets on the case of the missing Jake telling Hope to stay out of his business if she knows whats good for her!
It becomes very obvious that Hope is not welcomed on the island in that she's ruffling some feathers in uncovering who really runs the place VooDoo chieftain Bulmaro who's also it's major religious leader. It's Bulmaro who used his powers of VooDoo as well as violence, to those who refuse to go along with him, to establish an island VooDoo Cult that he rules with an iron fist! With no one willing, or too scared, to help her Hope turns to the island's only English speaking taxi driver Rodrigo by paying him exorbitant fees, over $300.00, to help her find her husband Jake who, in having no other place to go, has to be somewhere on the island.
Things start to really get out of hand when FBI Agent John Grayson shows up, pretending to be a fellow tourist, and in no time at all ends up getting shot and critically wounded by one of Bulmaro's hit-men. That was moments after Agent Grayson warned Hope not to leave her hotel room if she want's to stay alive. Just the day before Saint Carlos private eye Gregorio in trying to contact Hope-his client-about her husbands whereabouts was run down and killed in a hit-and-run just seconds after he called Hope on her cellphone! The movie gets even more weirder when Hope is contacted by the mysterious Lusia who's been following her and Jake since they both left Florida. Lusia hits Hope right square between the eyes about Jake's secret life, before they were married, with this bombshell of a revelation that comes straight out of the blue!
***SPOILERS**** It turns out that Lusie is Jake's illegitimate daughter who's mom was cult leader Bulmaro's lover which explains the reason that Jake, as it turned out, was kidnapped by Bulmaro's cult followers! That was in order to have him pay for his illicit affair with Bulmaro's girlfriend some 20 years ago! With all these surprises in the movie up to that point the biggest one by far is still yet to come! In just what exactly is going on between Saint Carlos Police Chief Raddimus and VooDoo Cult leader Bulmaro? And whey is Raddius so protective of him despite Bulmaro's reign of terror, that includes murder and kidnapping, on the island of Saint Carlos!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had to turn it off, even after having suffered through a dozen
commercials for Quik-Step Handiwipes and Biochecks Wheat Trim Cereal.
Enough is enough.
The commercials did a much better job of brainwashing and inducing hallucinations -- my house seemed cleaner afterward and I'd lost forty pounds -- than does the voodoo cult that this movie revolves around and which is completely immaterial to the plot. (It might as well be kidnapping for money.) Slender, sassy, and nicely assembled A. J. Cook and her TV-handsome and very rich lawyer husband take a vacation on the Caribbean island of San Carlos. During a meal, handsome hubby excuses himself and leaves the table, never to be seen again until the end. He should have known better than to drink the water.
There are no ransom notes, no nothing. And, as is usual in these movies, the police response is routine and uninterested. Few people speak English. Cook rushes with increasing anxiety from one possible resource to another. The cops, an avaricious taxi driver, a private investigator. The FBI is drawn in. A special investigative team puts her in jail. She's drugged. She's kidnapped herself and almost raped by the leader of a local cult who was once a criminal but has found redemption, he tells her as he tears at her clothes.
A. J. Cook is easy on the eyes but her range is limited and she can't carry the movie by herself. She projects fear by shouting insults at whoever she's frightened of. That's how you avoid getting hurt -- you heap your calumny on the person threatening you. When she hears some unpleasant news she wrinkles her nose as if she'd just gotten a whiff of an offensive odor. There are all sorts of red herrings and twists which I won't bother to describe.
On the plus side, some nice photography of San Juan, Puerto Rico's Old Town, full of colonial architecture, much of it pink. It's not typical of Puerto Rico. If you want to see what the rest of the city and the island look like, and if you're curious enough to bother, check out Puerto Rico Real Estate on Google. Much of what's in my price range looks almost as dilapidated as this abandoned railway car I live in, but you can get used to anything.
I did not like this film. I enjoyed it on the basis of a nonsense
fiction (a bit like I enjoyed reading The Da Vinci Code for
entertainment only), but there are certain implications in it to which
I strongly object.
To begin, there cannot exist a Spanish speaking Caribbean island, apparently so small yet having solidly built streets and alleys in its main town and villages. Apparently it was filmed in Puerto Rico, say no more.
I cannot abide US Americans who scream and shout as if their voice is their authority. I well remember my father in the UK saying that after meeting US soldiers during WW2 he did not like them because they have "the gift of the gab".
It is strongly suggested that voodoo, witchcraft and religious cultism are highly prevalent only in the Caribbean, and that ordinary people are highly susceptible to their influence.
Finally, it appears that the film was made primarily to appeal to those who would contend that shouting and voodoo are forces to believe in, and use for good or bad. I trust others would be put off by this in this film, as I was.
Its one redeeming feature, I thought, was its story line, implying corruption at high levels, and motivated by long-standing family ties in a local community, and long-standing aspects of revenge towards badly-behaved American tourists. I will give the film two stars for this.
A half century ago, Cyril Parkinson wrote an article for "The
Economist," where he first espoused "Parkinson's Law:" "Work expands so
as to fill the time available for its completion." This is usually
stated in a slightly-abbreviated fashion, "work expands to fill the
time available." Even today, with the advent of computers, there is a
corollary, "data expands to fill the space available for storage."
With the expansion of cable and satellite television, and the tremendous increase in the number of channels offered, with stations such as "Lifetime" and the plethora of others, there is a new corollary we can add to Mr. Parkinson's dictum: "Mediocre made-for-TV movies expand in number to fill the many hours (and stations) available for their airings."
A lot of cable time is filled with re-runs of movies/sitcoms/dramas previously produced, some gossip and reality shows, and late-hour paid programming/infomercials. However, there is always a need for more films to fill the time/spaces available.
In our present society, that is the only possibly reason for the production and airing of this flick. I'm not certain the description as "mediocre" isn't an insult to those programs/productions truly warranting this description. This one seems somewhat lower, in all aspects: story; performances; and even the climax and explanation for all the nonsense one had to sit through for most of the two hours. This "climax" was woefully weak, even considering the lower standards of this genre.
I caught it on a day when I was fighting a bronchial malady, and having to make certain I got rid of it before an important trip coming soon. I left the program on since I was slightly sedated, but also with that fascination this type of show delivers: sort of drawing you in with curiosity as to whether it just MIGHT GET BETTER.
The latter was not the case here. Gove it 2* versus 1, since the lead actress was attractive to view, and because, according to the location info, they at least filmed it in Puerto Rico instead of some back lot or Hispanic neighborhood in Canada.
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