No, this is not a post about Are You Afraid of the Dark :( Though I do miss that show very much and should probably try to find some old episodes online... But no, this is yet another movie review. Nobody suggested a movie for me to review :( so I had to choose this one. The same idea still applies though, if you want a movie reviewed or you want to learn more about a movie you've heard of just post a quick little comment and I'll do my best to find it and review it. But on to the main event for today...
Vanishing on 7th Street
To be honest I've been putting off seeing this movie for while now, for the sole reason that the title reminded me of "Miracle on 34th Street." I don't know why I thought this but for some reason it was just stuck in my head and I couldn't shake the thought that this would somehow be about an evil Santa Clause. I'm glad to say that in fact no, this movie is not about a killer Santa Clause thank god. The film revolves around a small group of characters who are left alone in Detroit after a mysterious blackout causes everyone to disappear. The survivors, who were lucky enough to be near a candle of some kind during the blackout, quickly realize that the darkness is what causes people to disappear. They band together and hold up inside an old tavern. The rest of the movie consists of the heroic team being picked off one by one by the shadows in the darkness while trying to figure out why the shadows are taking them.
Now, there is some good news for this one. First of all, it's directed by Brad Anderson, the same guy who directed "The Machinist" with Christian Bale in 2004. I loved that movie; instantly thought it was brilliant and if you haven't seen it, go watch it - now. So as soon as I found out this was an Anderson movie I got my hopes up. The next piece of good news is that it has a full cast of well known actors and actresses. Hayden Christensen stars alongside John Leguizamo and Thandie Newton. A film with stars like these deserves at least a watch or two. So, needless to say I had my hopes pretty high going into this. I liked the actors, I liked the director and it wasn't about Santa Clause.
The film has its good moments. The concept is a great one for starters. It turns out later on (spoiler alert) that the shadows are actually ghosts or spirits, whatever you want to call them. So, my understanding was that the ghosts had come back to take the souls of the living to the afterlife with them. This is what I believed at least. But then some of the characters started seeing their loved ones as shadows and I didn't understand why your deceased mother would want to take you to hell with her? So then I thought "Hey, maybe they're imitating the loved ones so that the people will get closer to them?" This is what I'm sticking with. The ghosts or demons or whatever, were evil and were pretending to be the ghosts of deceased relatives, but this is never really confirmed.
Now as you can see from my previous paragraph, this movie confused the hell out of me. To be honest, I re watched a couple of the most important scenes over and over, trying to figure out what was going on. If the filmmakers were trying to explain what the shadow-things were, they did a terrible job. The child of the group is the only survivor by the end (oops another spoiler, I'm on a roll with those today) and he survives by saying his name over and over again in an attempt to acknowledge his consciousness and that he exists. I don't have any idea what the hell that has to do with fighting off ghosts. The kid rides off on a horse, yes, a horse in the middle of Detroit, with a little seven year old blonde girl who also seems to have survived on her own with no help from adults.
Overall, I don't even know. Film making quality was excellent, clearly there was no lack of budget for this one. It had a bunch of stars which made the acting quality as best as can be expected from such a movie. The basic conflict of the story was a really cool concept and could have been explored deeply and thoroughly. But it's almost as if they ran out of time explaining the plot. It just didn't make sense, and if it was meant to not make sense and you were supposed to finish that movie having no idea what the hell just happened, well then, sorry Brad Anderson, but it sucked. Another five out of ten. If you watch this movie and you understand it, please enlighten me.
Or, at least that's my 2 cents anyway.