Toronto Review & Video: Anderson's 'Vanishing on 7th Street'
by Alex Billington
September 14, 2010
Are you afraid of the dark? One great film I caught the other night at a midnight screening was the newest feature from The Machinist and Transsiberian director Brad Anderson titled Vanishing on 7th Street, which we featured a trailer for just a few weeks ago. This apocalyptic thriller focuses on four "survivors" of a mysterious supernatural occurrence who randomly meet up at a bar on 7th Street in an attempt to survive. It has a great concept with some very creepy elements, but with Hayden Christensen in the lead, you already know that the characters are going to be the weakest part, and that was definitely the case. But it's not bad.
Without getting too much into spoiler territory, Vanishing on 7th Street begins with John Leguizamo, who's playing a projectionist in a movie theater. All of a sudden the power goes out and when the lights come back up, everyone has vanished into thin air, with nothing left but their clothes and belongings. Where did they go? No one knows. It kind of reminds me of The Langoliers in a sense and that's one of the reasons why this concept on a whole was so good - it had one of those old school, classic horror concept vibes throughout the whole thing. The rest of the movie, dark shadows would creep over people and if they had no light source on them, they'd disappear in a poof. Creepy, wonderfully realized visually by Anderson, it's a fantastic setup.
Unfortunately, the biggest problem with the film was the characters, and the story that involves all of them. None of them have a seething desire to survive, or so it seems, they're just stragglers who somehow survived the first mysterious "event", and are now going crazy. No one knows where to go, they're just trying to hang on to dear life and that's it. Maybe a polish would've helped, but I'm not sure. That said, I actually enjoyed this quite a bit for the entertainment value, and for Anderson's very strong visuals. It felt like a good, classic horror-thriller throwback and his direction was refined enough to add some value to a story full of otherwise mediocre characters. If you're a horror-thriller fan, you definitely need to check out the film no matter what.
I don't have too much to say about the film, but I did record a video blog after the screening with my friend Jordan of The Film Stage, which you can check out below for a bit more analysis and a second opinion.
Alex's Toronto Rating: 7.5 out of 10