Paul (John Leguizamo) is a cinema projectionist. One night the cinema goes black during a seeming power cut, but when the lights come up the auditorium is empty, save for a series of sets of crumpled clothes. Luke (Hayden Christensen) wakes up one morning and finds similarly empty sets of clothes where the receptionist usually sits. Outside in the street, empty crashed cars and sets of clothes littering the pavement tell the same story. But what is the story? Alien abduction? The Rapture? Paul, Luke and a couple of other survivors gather in a bar to try to survive and make sense of what is happening.


Earlier this year, Harold Camping predicted that the Rapture spoken of in the book of Revelation would take place on May 21st, 2011. It was unclear why he felt so convinced, though he assured his surprisingly ample community of followers that it had all been very carefully worked out. As it turned out, Jesus saying “no man knows the hour” trumped Camping’s diligently prepared calculations and we all stayed put. But the notion of a Rapture caught people’s attention. Websites, where you could pay someone to look after your pets once you were raptured (, sprung up and even though pretty much everyone dismissed Camping as a false prophet, the idea of what it might be like if everyone were suddenly whisked away was intriguing.

Although Vanishing On 7th Street can’t claim to have been geared up to play into that intrigue, its timing is nonetheless prescient. Although its fascinating premise is never properly explained, Luke does at least acknowledge the Rapture as an issue when he says he doesn’t want to hear “a Left Behind sermon” (referencing a popular set of novels centred around events following the Rapture). We are presented with the now familiar scenes of deserted city streets (see Vanilla Sky, 28 Days Later, I Am Legend), though with explanations considerably harder to come by. No-one has the inside track on these cataclysmic events, although it is clear that to survive, you have to stay in the light. The days are getting shorter and batteries and power supplies across the city of Detroit are gradually running down.

As noted above, the premise is an interesting one, which makes it all the more frustrating that director Brad Anderson (The Machinist) and scripter Antony Jaswinski don;t seem to want to or know how to develop it intelligently. Why has the darkness developed a life of its own? Why do naked flames protect the carriers of them? When Luke says he is alive because he wills it, is he right? If so, is that the answer? When the film begins to build a bit of pace and excitement to add to the slow burn of the initial development of the story, it suddenly fizzles out, not seeming sure where to go. It may be an attempt at open-ended ambiguity, but it comes across as nothing of the sort, unfortunately.

In so far as it relates to the interaction between the principals in the bar where most of the film unfolds, the script and acting are pretty good. There is an effective sense of danger, building fear and unpredictability, with shifts between reality, dreams, memories and hallucinations interwoven effectively. Christensen, Leguizamo and Thandie Newton’s characters are not brilliantly fleshed out, however they are at least believable, their lines delivered with feeling.

Most of the reviews out there are pretty scathing of Vanishing… but I think that is unfair. It is clearly a film not without flaws and shortcomings, but at least in its central premise it has a strong idea and some sort of determination to develop it, even if it falls short of being fully-formed. An intriguing film then, one with enough talent and quality to sustain its 80 minute running time, but likely to leave you a bit annoyed that more wasn’t made of it.

Vanishing On 7th Street is coming soon on DVD and you could do worse. Much, much worse.


[yframe url=’′]

Previous articleTaken 2 Will Start Filming In October This Year
Next articleA Gun-Toting Cover And Three New Images For Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows
Dave has been writing for HeyUGuys since mid-2010 and has found them to be the most intelligent, friendly, erudite and insightful bunch of film fans you could hope to work with. He's gone from ham-fisted attempts at writing the news to interviewing Lawrence Bender, Renny Harlin and Julian Glover, to writing articles about things he loves that people have actually read. He has fairly broad tastes as far as films are concerned, though given the choice he's likely to go for Con Air over Battleship Potemkin most days. He's pretty sure that 2001: A Space Odyssey is the most overrated mess in cinematic history.