Even though we were both in the mood for a movie the other night, my wife and I both knew we were too tired to start one of the movies we really wanted to see and, instead, looked for a substitute that wouldn’t take too long to watch. After scanning through the movies available on Netflix, I ended up picking out the 2010 film “Vanishing on 7th Street.”
The movie did not have that high of a rating on Netflix, which made me immediately lower my expectations. But, since the low rating also meant it was a good choice for two adults who didn’t know if they would even be able to stay awake, we watched it anyway. As it turns out, I ended up having a mixed opinion about it.
The film, which stars Hayden Christensen, has a somewhat interesting plot. A blackout strikes Detroit and, when it happens, the entire population (minus Christensen and a small ensemble cast) vanishes, leaving just their clothes behind. The few that remain are terrorized by mysterious creatures living in the shadows that are afraid of light but also have the ability to make things dark when they need to (including making the days shorter).
The thing I liked most about this movie is it essentially tells the story from a first-person perspective. There is no back story (the creatures strike minutes after the film starts) and the viewer doesn’t know any more about the creatures than the characters do. This, in my opinion, made the movie somewhat watchable because of the mystery behind what the creatures were, their motivation and where the people end up. You also don’t know if it is just affecting Detroit or if it is a global problem.
Unfortunately, the movie was lacking a bit when it came to overall execution. The creatures could control the sun and shut down power to the entire city but were inexplicably unable to shut down a simple backup generator? Plus there were some scenes that seemed to have been meant to have more meaning (such as the strange dream sequence John Leguizamo’s character has before he is abducted) but were never fully explained.
The ending was the most disappointing part for me because the writers made no effort to explain anything about the creatures or anything else that happened. It was as frustrating as reading a fantastic mystery novel only to find out the last couple chapters are ripped out. Unless they were intending on making a sequel (and low-budget movies like this should never assume there is going to be money for one), it really made no sense to end it that way.
As a result of this, while I did enjoy the first half of the movie enough to watch the entire film, I have to say I ultimately ended up being disappointed by it. The plot had plenty of potential and there were some familiar faces but, because the movie only gives you half the story, it really isn’t worth taking the time to watch.
My Grade: D