The population of Detroit has almost completely disappeared, but a few remain. As daylight disappears they realize that the Dark is coming for them.The population of Detroit has almost completely disappeared, but a few remain. As daylight disappears they realize that the Dark is coming for them.The population of Detroit has almost completely disappeared, but a few remain. As daylight disappears they realize that the Dark is coming for them.
I hate to use something from RUBBER, a film I loathed, but it fits so well here: VANISHING uses the plot of "no reason," a plot that raises many questions but doesn't answer them by the time the credits roll. It is this very reason why the film is disliked by many. Yet, films like THE HAPPENING, KNOWING, and THE FORGOTTEN get bashed because of the explanations of their plots. Go figure. Yes, as human beings, we often want to make sense of events that occur, especially in films, yet we need to realize things in life just happen. VANISHING may be low on explanation, but it's high on suspense due to the use of a common fear: the dark.
Let's take a moment to talk about why so many people fear the darkness: It's not the darkness itself that people are afraid of, but rather, the fear of the unknown. Just what is lurking in the darkness? VANISHING uses this fear and capitalizes on it which generates many of the films' unnerving moments. In fact, its resistance on explaining everything is what makes the film scary. And no, the film doesn't use any "pop out" scares. It's better than that. The film builds up its scares with a chilling atmosphere. That, ladies and gentlemen, is called suspense, and don't be surprised. Director Brad Anderson is in the chair. With films like TRANSIBBERIAN and THE MACHINEST already under his belt, Anderson knows how to make films that are thrilling.
The cast is good as well, but that's probably because I have a soft side for them. Haters of Hayden Christensen will find themselves unconvinced, but I thought he pulled off a good performance. Although their characters don't ask for much, John Leguizamo and the beautiful Thandie Newton do a great job providing sympathy to their roles. Jacob Latimore, the kid actor, plays quite an annoying character at first, which shouldn't be a surprise, but I got to eventually warm up to him in the middle point of the film.
Overall, VANISHING impressed me. While there may be some inconsistency in its high-concept premise, it really makes up for it on the scares. The actors are good as well and the production values are great for a small film like this. Give this film a chance.
- Aug 1, 2011