7.8/10
29,435
189 user 90 critic

The Vanishing (1988)

Spoorloos (original title)
Rex and Saskia, a young couple in love, are on vacation. They stop at a busy service station and Saskia is abducted. After three years and no sign of Saskia, Rex begins receiving letters from the abductor.

Director:

George Sluizer

Writers:

Tim Krabbé (novel), Tim Krabbé (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
2,940 ( 2,005)

On Disc

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7 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu ... Raymond Lemorne
Gene Bervoets ... Rex Hofman
Johanna ter Steege ... Saskia Wagter
Gwen Eckhaus Gwen Eckhaus ... Lieneke
Bernadette Le Saché Bernadette Le Saché ... Simone Lemorne
Tania Latarjet Tania Latarjet ... Denise
Lucille Glenn Lucille Glenn ... Gabrielle
Roger Souza Roger Souza ... Manager
Caroline Appéré Caroline Appéré ... Cashier
Pierre Forget Pierre Forget ... Farmer Laurent
Didier Rousset Didier Rousset ... TV Journalist
Raphaëline Goupilleau Raphaëline Goupilleau ... Gisele Marzin (as Raphaëline)
Robert Lucibello Robert Lucibello ... Teacher
David Bayle David Bayle ... Lemorne (16 Years)
Doumee Doumee ... Lady 'Prisunic' (as Doumée)
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Storyline

Rex and Saskia are on holiday, a young couple in love. They stop at a busy service station and Saskia disappears. Rex dedicates the next three years trying to find her. Then he receives some postcards from her abductor, who promises to reveal what has happened to Saskia. The abductor, Raymond Lemorne, is a chilling character to whom Rex is drawn by his intense desire to learn the truth behind his lovers disappearance. The truth is more sinister than he dared imagine. Written by Matthew Stanfield <mattst@cogs.susx.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Language:

Dutch | French | English

Release Date:

27 October 1988 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

The Vanishing See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

Raymond tells Rex that when he was a teenager, he jumped from a balcony and lost two of his fingers. However, the adult Raymond clearly has 10 fingers for the duration of the movie. See more »

Quotes

Rex Hofman: Sometimes I imagine she's alive. Somewhere far away. She's very happy. And then, I have to make a choice. Either I let her go on living and never know, or I let her die and find out what happened. So... I let her die.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An absolutely chilling, deeply unsettling horror masterpiece
28 December 2003 | by kanerazorSee all my reviews

The Vanishing is a movie only those with ice in their veins can ever forget. The direction is absolutely brilliant, from the opening frames until the very end. I felt Saskia's fright when she thought she lost Rex initially, and her description of her dream made me feel chills. When she disappeared, Rex's combination of rage, frustration, anxiety, and grief was torture to watch. A particularly powerful moment was when he slammed the car door shut so hard the window crumbled into pieces.

Watching Rex become consumed in every way by his quest to find Saskia was also extremely difficult to watch, although it was certainly inevitable. I found the professor's description of his actions appalling in many cases, the most notable one being when he fixates on Saskia and we see his POV. Seeing Saskia warmly respond to him was devastating, knowing what would happen. Throughout the film there was an overwhelming sense of doom and isolation, like this was a cruel world where even in the most idyllic settings evil lurked everywhere and attempting to fight it was futile. Rex undergoes one of the most harrowing emotional ordeals of any movie character ever, and when he is at the end of his rope his crucial decision would seem so insane out of context but viewers understand that it really is his only choice. The shock ending, especially the way it was done, almost made me scream, and I will never forget the final shot. The Vanishing could be shown in any film class on direction, as an example of perfection. Material that could have been turned into just a mediocre thriller with would have seemed like a lame twist was turned by George Sluizer into an utterly harrowing filmgoing experience. And that is the right word, because a movie like The Vanishing is not just watched-it is experienced.

I estimate I have seen around 700 movies in my life, and horror is my favorite genre. I have only seen two films that left me so scared that after they ended I couldn't even move. One was Psycho, which I saw 10 years ago when I was only 12. The other one was just this year-The Vanishing.


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