VANISHING ON 7TH STREET Appears On DemandFebruary 16, 2011

VANISHING ON 7TH STREET Appears On Demand

Magnet Releasing / Magnolia Pictures

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand and from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: VANISHING ON 7TH STREET (Magnet Releasing).


VANISHING ON 7TH STREET Appears On Demand

By Chris Claro

 

As a director, Brad Anderson has been maddeningly difficult to classify. Since making an indie splash with the romantic comedy NEXT STOP WONDERLAND in 1998, Anderson has ping-ponged back and forth between television, helming such highly acclaimed series as HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET, THE WIRE, BOARDWALK EMPIRE and films including TRANSSIBERIAN, THE MACHINIST and HAPPY ACCIDENTS. Despite his scattershot resume, Anderson's films have always been worth a look.
 
Anderson's latest, VANISHING ON 7TH STREET, is another of his hard-to-peg entries. Part horror film, part existential melodrama, the film tells the story of what appears to be an invasion of some kind of body snatchers in downtown Detroit.
 
When the power goes out one night, humans throughout the city literally disappear from their clothing. In the wake of the vanishings, four people remain thanks to the light they each had available to them. The survivors include a theater projectionist (John Leguizamo), a news anchor (Hayden Christensen), a nurse (Thandie Newton) and a boy (Jacob Latimore), The group does what they can to maintain the power and keep the light, and themselves, from dying.
 
VANISHING ON 7TH STREET (Magnet Releasing)
VANISHING ON 7TH STREET (Magnet Releasing)
 
Anderson seems to want to make the script by Anthony Jaswinski a spookfest with brains, but the scares are minimal and the characters' cries of "I exist" as a way of staving off the unseen invaders are corny. In a fright flick, you want frights, but Anderson, clearly working on a shoestring, doesn't bring them.
 
With the four principals spending the bulk of the film on one set, VANISHING ON 7TH STREET plays more as a one-act produced at a local theater than a professionally made feature.
 
VANISHING ON 7TH STREET (Magnet Releasing)
VANISHING ON 7TH STREET (Magnet Releasing)
 
On a par with the production values, the acting is uninspired. Christensen, never known for his charisma, does what he can with his character, but is stymied by Jaswinski's undeveloped script. Nor does Leguizamo, who can bring it with the right director -- see Baz Lurhmann's take on ROMEO AND JULIET -- have much to work with, and he falls back on mannerism and voice-raising in place of characterization. Newton, an actress who can work with subtlety and grace, also resorts to histrionics to find her character.
 
VANISHING ON 7TH STREET (Magnet Releasing)
VANISHING ON 7TH STREET (Magnet Releasing)
 
It's disappointing when a creditable filmmaker such as Anderson stumbles with a piece of promising material. It feels as if VANISHING ON 7TH STREET might have been a more rewarding film with a script that provided both some motivation for its characters, and an explanation of just what the invasion was all about. As it stands, it's a big miss.
 
SKIP IT

 

- Chris Claro

Chris
Chris Claro is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. He is a former Director of Promotion for Sundance Channel and now works as a writer, producer, and media educator. He is a regular contributor to dvdverdict.com and contributor to the Eyes and Ears section of huffingtonpost.com

 

VANISHING ON 7TH STREET is available via Magnolia Picutres (Magnet Releasing) On Demand now and in theaters 2/18/11.

 

Magnolia

 

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