class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-38453″ title=”Vanishing on 7th Street” alt=”” src=”×150.jpg” width=”220″ height=”150″ />The latest from director Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Transsiberian) is a mediocre horror entry that has more in common with the murky hokiness of M. Night Shyamalan than the body horror of David Cronenberg or David Lynch.

Despite the best efforts of the excellent cast, who emote mightily, the very slight script doesn’t give them much to work with, and the film subsequently doesn’t reward the viewer with any sort of remotely satisfying resolution in exchange for his patience.

AMC projectionist Paul (John Leguizamo) discovers that all of the patrons in his cinema have vanished after a power failure, leaving only their clothes behind. TV journalist Luke (Hayden Christensen) awakens one morning after what appears to have been a moderately boozy evening to discover that his girlfriend never turned up at his flat as promised….and that the entire population of the city seems to have disappeared in an instant, leaving the usual sort of urban post-apocalyptic detritus behind them (the aforementioned clothing, crashed cars, abandoned hot dog carts, etc).

Flashing forward three days, Luke is seen stumbling around the darkened city searching for a car with a live battery, when he stumbles upon a neighbourhood bar called Sonny’s that has power. When Luke seeks sanctuary there he is challenged by a frightened young boy (Jacob Lattimore) brandishing a shotgun, and the two are then joined by an anguished young woman named Rosemary (Thandie Newton) who is desperately trying to find her vanished infant son. As they ponder what has happened and what the best course of action for escape and survival is, they hear cries for help from somewhere outside the bar from the seriously injured Paul, which Rosemary is determined to investigate.

At this point, it appears that we have been set up for an Assault on Precinct 13 (or perhaps a less jokey Feast) type siege story, with the four characters holed up in the bar as they are assaulted by mysterious supernatural assailants, while the origin and purpose of the assailants is slowly revealed.

Sadly however, that’s not the case, and might have made for a fun if unremarkable genre film; instead, we are treated to a frankly boring narrative involving a (very little) bit of backstory for the characters and their increasingly frenetic attempts to ‘remain in light’ and ward off the irritatingly shadowy forms that come closer and closer to snatching them up.

Without spoiling the ending, I have to say I was simply annoyed by the resolution, or lack thereof. I think Anderson and the screenwriter were trying to make some sort of Biblical analogy, and my lack of deep knowledge of the Bible may be contributing to my lack of comprehension of what they were doing – but maybe not.

It may just be that the ending is intended as nothing more than what we literally see, and if so that is even more disappointing. The story and how it plays out is simply too tedious to excuse the complete and utter lack of explanation as to the who, what, where and why of the shadowy creatures that are at the heart of the story.

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I've worked in entertainment product development and sales & marketing in the U.S., UK and my native Canada for over 20 years, and have been a part of many changes during that time (I've overseen home entertainment releases on VHS, LaserDisc, DVD and Blu-ray). I've also written and commentated about film and music for many outlets over the years. The first film I saw in the cinema was Mary Poppins, some time in the mid-60s: I was hooked. My love of the moving image remains as strong as ever.