The trailer for this movie starts off by stating, “What if you woke up one morning and the world as you know it vanished?” Wow, that alone peeks my curiosity. After watching the rest of the trailer, I really wanted to know why everyone vanished. It kind of reminded me of wanting to know why everyone was dying in the trailer for The Happening. That trailer definitely fooled me into thinking that would be a good movie, so would I be fooled once again?
Paul (John Leguizamo) is working the projectors at an AMC theater when all of the sudden the power goes out. Upon investigating the theater lobby, all he finds remaining is a mess of people’s clothes before getting knocked out. Luke (Hayden Christensen), apparently asleep through this power outage, wakes up alone after a romantic night with a co-worker. With no power, he gets ready to leave for work. Oblivious to what is going on, he walks outside to a deserted city.
The movie opens showing glimpses of what is happening to three characters as a mysterious darkness overtakes the city. Right off the bat, it is hard to believe that John Leguizamo is playing a guy that runs the projectors at AMC. He looks nothing like anyone I see at the movie theaters. After Paul disappears, there is a transition to a woman, Rosemary, who is looking around a dark hospital. This scene is so quick, it almost seems out of place, but it works out because it is actually one of the creepiest scenes in the movie.
Then comes the scene where the movie really tries to shock the audience. Luke walks out of his apartment building to find nothing but people’s clothes, crashed cars, and silence. He walks into the middle of the street and stops to look around. As he stands there, the camera spins around him, and they show an airplane in the distance crash. It is a decent and kind of stunning shot, but they ruin it by cutting away too fast. They don’t even show Luke’s reaction. On top of that, it didn’t seem to make sense that all of the sudden the plane lost power and crashed. Is it because it crosses into a certain territory where this is only happening?
The movie moves to Luke arriving at the news station where he works to look for his co-worker, Paige. As he looks around, again he finds a bunch of clothes as the darkness seems to be closing in on him. The scene ends when he thinks he sees a shadow of someone in another room. Here comes another problem. The movie then cuts to darkness as it says, “72 hours later.” This is a total waste of the eerie situation they create. Instead of following Luke as he tries to figure out what is going on, they move forward to a time where he has some knowledge of the situation at hand. I liken it to the opening scene in 28 Days Later, where Jim wakes up in the hospital, and manages to make it out into the streets. Both Jim and the audience are taken back by how empty the streets are, and the situation he finds himself in. Now imagine if the movie stopped, and skipped forward a few days. You would miss out on all the emotion, mystery, and chaos of the situation.
So what do they do after skipping forward 72 hours? They bore the audience to death in a bar that Luke takes refuge in. It is here that he meets James, a young boy who is waiting at the bar for his mother to return. Soon enough, Rosemary also joins the party. Just as the three begin to get acquainted, they hear some noise in the street. It turns out to be Paul, who has unexplainably managed to stay alive. To no surprise, he is rescued, and brought back to the bar in order to help bore the audience some more.
While boring everyone, they use the extended bar scene to fill in the audience on what is going on. Basically, you must have a light on, or be in the light. If your light goes out, or you find yourself in the dark, a mysterious darkness will come and take you. It literally takes just you, and leaves your clothes behind. They try to make this scene all dramatic and suspenseful with the lights flickering on and off, and eventually showing the darkness creep into the bar. However, it gets old extremely fast. Also, it becomes less and less dramatic every time one of the characters loses their light, but finds it just before the darkness gets them. It is inconsistent how sometimes the darkness is right there to get the person when the light goes off, while other times it seems to take just long enough to allow the person to find a light.
After all the debating about what they think is going on and what this darkness is, there is never a conclusive thought to what is happening. The trailer mentions, “without reason,” and “without explanation,” and that is what they give the audience. Nothing pisses me off more about a movie than when they leave the story open for you to guess what just happened. I’m all for twists, and some mystery, but you can’t just throw three or four explanations out there and say, “take your pick.” Please narrow it down, and make it at least reasonable. In this case, it leaves too many open questions about what the darkness is, why is it taking people, and how is it able to do this. I am not going to give the ending away, but it is just ridiculous as it brings up more questions than it does resolving anything. It also makes all of Luke, Paul, and Rosemary’s struggles look stupid.
I was fooled again, as this movie turned out to be The Happening all over again. I wanted to see it because I had to know what was happening to everyone. Well, nothing happened in either of these movies. At least The Happening gave an explanation to what was going on. For Vanishing on 7th Street, it is as if they came up with a good idea, but couldn’t execute it, nor could they decide on how to wrap up the story. The movie starts off by creating this apocalyptic situation, but then ruins it by flashing forward 72 hours. It takes too long before you really learn enough about the characters to care for them. The worst part is that it just opens up question after question that is never answered while boring the audience in the process. It is a good thing that my money didn’t vanish in order to see this movie. I give it 1.5 pools of blood.