Shadow Play 

Vanishing on 7th Street: B-grade Actors Chewing the Scenery. In the Dark.

VANISHING ON 7TH STREET They’re lucky this isn’t Christine.

VANISHING ON 7TH STREET They’re lucky this isn’t Christine.

THERE'S A GREAT DEAL of miscalculation in M. Night Shyamalan's disaster-horror crapsterpiece The Happening, but perhaps the silliest decision he made was to have scenes where characters ran from the wind. It's scary in concept (the wind is carrying killer pollen!) but completely silly in execution. Vanishing on 7th Street has a similar problem, although instead of the wind, its cast is literally running from the dark. Sure, shadows can be spooky, but they're hard to build an action-thriller around.

That doesn't stop Vanishing from trying. The story's simple: There's a sudden blackout across America, and everyone who isn't next to an independent light source—like, say, a candle—disappears, leaving a puddle of clothes. After that, the nights become longer, leaving a few survivors (Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo) trying desperately to stay illuminated or else get spirited away by whispering shadow beasties.

Again, scary in theory, but in execution it means people huddled around a flickering light for 90 minutes. Even worse, they're working from a script that's soapier than an Ivory bar and just about as thought provoking. Don't expect any answers, 'cause Vanishing doesn't provide them—instead, we get B-grade actors chewing the scenery. In the dark.

Vanishing on 7th Street
Rated R · 93 min. · 2011
Official Site:
Director: Brad Anderson
Writer: Anthony Jaswinski
Producer: Tove Christensen, Norton Herrick and Celine Rattray
Cast: Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo, Taylor Groothuis, Jordan Trovillion, Jacob Latimore, Arthur Cartwright, Courtney Benjamin, Benjamin Brennan and Shawntay Dalon

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