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MOVIE REVIEW: Vanishing On 7th Street

Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo star (Video)

  • Hayden Christensen as Luke in "Vanishing on 7th Street."
  • Vanishing on 7th Street
  • Hayden Christensen as Luke in "Vanishing on 7th Street."
  • John Leguizamo as Paul in "Vanishing on 7th Street."
  • Vanishing on 7th Street
  • John Leguizamo as Paul in "Vanishing on 7th Street."
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Vanishing on 7th Street was no Miracle on 54th Street.

It was no Vanishing.

Heck, it wasn’t even a really good Twilight Zone episode; perhaps if 45 minutes were cut out, and just the good scenes and scary moments left in, it would have been.

This reminded me of The Fog. When the fog rolled in, people died. This was because they were ghosts from a shipwreck, which stemmed from a lighthouse operator that didn’t turn the light on for them.

In this movie, there is a post-apocalyptic town in Detroit with no people. No, it’s not because of the problems with the auto industry closing down plants. None of the handful of people that are still living know why it’s happening. They do know that light keeps them from being attacked. We never find out the reason for that.

The creatures after them are really shadowy characters. They look and sound just like the demons from Ghost (and they’re just as scary in some scenes).

Director Brad Anderson did a Christian Bale movie I loved (The Machinist), so I had high hopes for this. And the first 15 minutes start out promising enough.When the few remaining people gather in a local bar with a jukebox that keeps playing Motown, I was digging things even more.

Hayden Christensen plays Luke Ryder (my new porn name). He and the always-gorgeous Thandie Newton are rather annoying characters that are always snapping at each other. I guess if you’ve lost your loved ones and are counting down the time until you disappear, you’re not going to be the most pleasant person to be around. Still, if it weren’t for John Leguizamo and the young Jacob Latimore, you’d have nobody to root for.And you got to love Latimore pointing out he’s 12-and-a-half. When you’re carrying a gun and protecting your mom's bar, it’s perhaps the one time you can see the logic of putting the half in there.

There are some interesting elements in this. It’s got a moody atmosphere that works nicely.Scenes with car doors opened and hoods smoking in the streets with nobody in them, always evokes an eerie vibe.Seeing the clothing of people on sidewalks and in offices, but with nobody inside them, was creepier than if we saw dead bodies.There’s a premise about how a lost colony had the word “Roanoke” written on a fence. And we see that word written on a bridge. Perhaps more could’ve been done with that (especially since the story of that colony in 1586 is real).

But, just like a Stephen King novel, the creepy scenarios are set up and the ending is anti-climatic.

I don’t mind that we never really found out why the things happened that did, but a few answers would’ve been nice. I’m still confused as to why they had to jump start a truck (bizarre how they mention it’s a Chevy), or why turning off lights and things in a bar will conserve the gasoline in a generator.

I did like the shout-out to The Marvelettes, especially with their founder and lead singer Gladys Horton passing away a few months ago.

I wish the movie would’ve given me a reason to be afraid of the dark as I walked out of the theatre and into an empty parking lot at midnight in the rain. I had only the glow of my cell phone to guide me.

This movie has a limited release, and I’m guessing it’ll be vanishing from the Ken Cinema very soon.

I’m giving it a D.