Review: VANISHING ON 7TH STREET (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 19 February 2011



Remember how M. Night Shyamalan's post-apocalyptic thriller called THE HAPPENING (2008) used to be one of the most intriguing summer movies of the year but turned out to be a complete cop-out after all? History repeats itself in this latest post-apocalyptic thriller called VANISHING ON 7TH STREET. But instead of M. Night Shyamalan, the director turns out unexpectedly to be Brad Anderson. Brad Anderson, is of course, a critically-acclaimed director who made quite a number of interesting projects which are ranging from 2001's SESSION 9, 2004's THE MACHINIST and 2008's TRANSSIBERIAN. You can say he's a master of suspense, but for his latest feature here, VANISHING ON 7TH STREET turns out to be his worst movie he's ever directed so far.

But make no mistake, the movie's premise turns out to be quite a killer: When a massive power outrage cuts off abruptly across the city of Detroit, and presumably, all over the world, a number of human populations are mysteriously disappeared during the total blackout. At each passing day, the sun can be seen only at mere shorter period of time before the darkness creeps in faster and longer than expected. And ironically, there are four strangers left to be survived: TV news field reporter Luke (Hayden Christensen); AMC multiplex projectionist Paul (John Leguizamo), physical therapist Rosemary (Thandie Newton); and a 12-year-old boy named James (Jacob Latimore). All four of them come across each other as they holed up in a corner bar called Sonny's, the seemingly only place where a working electric generator provide them the much-needed source of light. As it turns out, light is very important for them to survive. If a slight blackout occurs, there will be some sort of malevolent shadows creeping in at every possible corner to suck the life out of any human being in no time. They are trying to figure out what causes the mass blackout in the first place, and where are these malevolent shadows come from? Why are they are lucky enough to survive?

For starters, VANISHING ON 7TH STREET is simply eerie and intriguing enough just for the killer premise alone it's simply screamed like one of a good Twilight Zone-like episodes. In fact, for the beginning itself, director Brad Anderson has crafted some worthy suspenseful moments, with the generous aid of Lucas Vidal's string-laden score and Uta Briesewitz's sneaky cinematography. Too bad Anthony Jaswinski's screenplay does very little to care for any satisfying explanation behind the mysterious blackout happens throughout the movie. Because of that, everything else tends to be repetitive and nothing much is happened other than watching these desperate survivors trying to stay alive at all cost. Everything here is just too vague, and all those spooky factors quickly turns out to be a chore to sit through as the running time passes by.

If that's not bad enough, the climactic ending is a total cop-out that finishes off with a head-scratching finale. Once a new character is introduced abruptly at the finale, you'll be dumbfounded to discover how is this particular character survived so long with -- get this -- a solar-powered flashlight!. No kidding. What an idea for insulting the viewers' intelligence.

Avoid this movie at all cost.

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