2010 / Director. Brad Anderson.
In 2001 Brad Anderson made his 3rd feature film, Session 9. It was a brilliant and haunting psychological thriller that announced him as a director to keep tabs on. He followed it up with The Machinist, which confirmed him to be something of a genius... and then he made Transsiberian, another thriller that left me underwhelmed. It started with a great premise but the second half of the film descended into cliche territory... and so I have been excited about Vanishing on 7th Street, hoping for a return to form. The premise seemed contrived but I have been curious to see what he does with it. A darkness falls upon Detroit and with it, everyone vanishes, leaving only their clothes. A select few have been spared and the film centres on four of them convening at a down town bar where the lights are running off a generator. If the darkness catches them, they will vanish. I definitely entered into this movie with the right atmosphere. I watched it at midnight, had the volume up and had every light turned off. The first act is excellent. Anderson plays with the audience and conjures up a genuinely brooding and spooky ambience. Strewn clothes and creeping shadows subtly placed in the background do raise hairs on the back of your neck and one particular moment gave me a huge sense of the heebie-jeebies as a car drove past my window, casting a lurking shadow across my ceiling. Yikes! And then the film peters out and falls into cliche-town. It essentially turns into a Carpenteresque, Shyamalan type of deal. The shadows become laboured and there's very little suspense to keep the concept afloat. The performances are fine but the script isn't strong enough to maintain its stamina. I honestly thought that Brad Anderson would have been above this brand of genre film and with his next film, The Call, having received mixed reviews I will definitely be keeping my expectations low. He obviously thrives in a low budget, independent environment and perhaps that's where be needs to return to.