WHEN A FILM opens so greatly with a bank robbery or hostage situation, it can often go wrong. With many intricacies to planning the heist, one wrong move and it essentially could collapse without repair. This leads us to writer-director Dan Bush's hybrid horror The Vault, where everything that can go wrong inevitably does go wrong - and then some. James Franco's Ed Maas is one of the several targets to a collective team of thieves led by two estranged sisters Vee (Taryn Manning) and Leah (Francesca Eastwood), who rob a bank to save their brother (Scott Haze). However they soon find that this is no ordinary bank, they later find out that the bank has a history and something is lurking in the shadows down in the old vault.
It's an excellent opening, which thrives in the suspense of mystery, as it's not always clear who is in on the heist or who isn't, is it the sisters?, is it the brother?, or perhaps it's the things hidden in the basement? It's sometimes hard to guess. This premise keeps it thrilling for a while as the unknown threat makes them fight for their survival. But sadly this energetic opening is short-lived as Bush draws the cards far too early bringing proceedings to a hasty close, quickly shifting the premise from an escalating thriller to a survival horror. As the two sisters become unstuck from their bars, so does Bush. Things get messy with the hapless introduction to the unknown threat, in perhaps an unsuccessful nod to The Haunting or last year's The Void, it's left as a misguidedly directed, poorly written thriller-horror (throrror?) or (hiller) filled with boring thrills and a silly story.
On paper, while most of the film feels generic it does have interesting smatterings of peppered originality, as a first it's a change to see the film's female characters be the play makers during this operation, they are the planners of the heist when things go wrong while also handling the hostages making them the brawn of the operation too. They're not exactly fleshed out; then again really nobody feels 3D. Franco's assistant manager tries his best to give at least some flesh to his character, though like the vault in question he's just left in the shadows, it feels that only his name that makes an illicit attempt at aggression. It's clear that he's just here for a pay check.
The Vault is a poorly handled heist hybrid horror which gives its celebrated players, poor writing and several boring thrills that really leave nothing more than just a rubbery haphazard execution.
VERDICT A loud, disjointed, silly and very uneven fright flick that barely kicks off anything original. It'll be better to watch this as a TV special, then forgetting it.
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