@thesubstream ♥'s Midnight Madness #4 - Vanishing on 7th Street

The madness continues as we talk to fans, conduct risky rush line rescues and show some love to the die-hard GACKT DEARS!

Vanishing on 7th Street is like a lot of the other smart, lowish budget genre sophistications showing at this year's Toronto Int'l Film Festival: dark, dark, dark. Like Rodrgio Cortes' Buried, Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go and Matt Reeves Americanization Let Me In, 7th Street is bleak and almost unremittingly sad and like the best of those films, viscerally scary and filled with a prolonged, othering dread.

Four characters meet in a bar, all festooned with lights: a former news anchor (Hayden Christensen), a projectionist and a nurse (John Leguizamo and Thandie Newton) and the young son of the absent bartender (Jacob Latimore).

All have survived the three days since the apocalypse, the instantaneous disappearance of almost everyone in the city. The power went out for an instant, it came back on and everyone was gone, leaving their clothes, watches and dentures lying where they once were. Something is lurking in the dark, shadows creep with oily grace and silent black sentinels look, ready to snatch anyone that wanders too far into the gloom.

Batteries are dying, the sun is moving faster and faster through the sky leaving the days shorter and shorter, and the four survivors must decide what to do before their faltering generator fails, leaving them in the dark with no protection, waiting to be taken.

It's reminiscent of a lot of Stephen King's stuff, in particular his novella "The Langoliers" in which a similar motley crew find themselves abandoned and utterly alone. But the threat in Vanishing is simultaneously more abstract and more immediately threatening: it lurks in the shadows of the pool balls on the table around which the characters confer, a constantly-present force.

It's a conceit that works when it does and not when it doesn't. It's tense from start to finish but in a wearying way, largely because Anderson and screenwriter Anthony Jaswinski refuse to supply any real explanation. The evil force in the film is just figures and whispers, and there is no "scientist" character to explain how he read a story about shadow people this is how the film logic works and blah blah blah.

It's deeply creepy and vaguely unsatisfying, but not in a way that makes the film worse, per se. Vanishing on 7th Street like Never Let Me Go and Buried is a genre film that refuses to indulge in a predictable resolution to a generic set up. The resulting film is suffused with atmosphere and creeping dread, a smart and decidedly different thriller, though one that will leave some folks unsatisfied.


  1. Noooo, you guys! It's GACKT! You had it right the first time! He pronounces it the English way. Gakuto is just the Japanese equivalent to GACKT. Please, please, use the English pronunciation! He likes it better that way. xD

    Also, you shouldn't believe everything you read. xD

    Anyway, Vanishing on 7th Street seems really promising! Scary movies in general are amazing. Plus I love me some Hayden Christensen. :D And I love the parallel between Anikan - Luke. xD

  2. How can anyone not love a samurai? =)) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WO727MWzKI
    Welcome to the dark side... we have war gods LOL

  3. Actually the more "corect" way of pronouncing it isn't the English one, it's Gah-kt.