January 28, 2011
Vanishing on 7th Street (2011)
Here's what amazes me: Some of the "Big" horror sites, which considered 2010's A Nightmare on Elm Street an abomination of epic proportions beyond any and all comprehension, oddly found some way to gush over this movie, which was honestly a mess from the get go. Why is that? I'm not looking to start a debate here, but it makes me wonder about a lot of things that they print.
Let me back up for a second here.
I'm a Metro Detroiter. Go ahead and make your Detroit Jokes, I get it. I can't argue with most of them. The city itself, is pretty much a joke. Still, being born there, and living in its suburbs, I have a sense of pride about the place, kinda, and it tickles me to no end to see how many movies are being made here in the area of late. SE Lower Michigan has some great locales, great culture, and a ton of untapped potential. Plus I'm here, so it's obviously an awesome place.
Add to that the fact that I love Brad Anderson's work -from The Machinist and Session 9, to most of his great TV series work- and this movie had me all sorts of giddy when I first became aware of it. Brad Anderson shooting a horror flick in my own backyard.. hells yes! No, make that fucks yes! Awesome Stuff, right?
Well, after seeing the movie, I have to say not so awesome.
While not an abomination, this movie certainly makes its fair share of missteps, and feels haphazard. Lazy even.
Basically, the story starts with Hayden Christensesn waking up to find that pretty much everyone in the city has vanished, leaving piles of clothing behind as the only sign that they had been there at all. He's safe when it's light out but once it get's dark and the light fades, shadow creatures pop up out of nowhere and turn you into another pile of clothes. Fine. Interesting premise.
John Leguizamo, Thandie Newton, and some cute little black kid pretty much round out the cast as the other survivors. They all meet up, freak out together, and fight like hell to keep a light on while they figure out what's happening. Still interesting, a ton of possibility...
We then get some flashbacks of the characters before everything "went dark." We get plenty of moments showing the light juuuust about to wink out with the shadow people closing in to make the kill, only to be foiled by a last minute light display of some sort. We get some cheesy, cliche' moments involving both dialogue, and poor decisions that seem to be there only to give the movie another chance to scare us. And we for sure get a shitty ending that resolves nothing save for the fact that we should have seen another movie.
What we don't get is any sort of resolution, strong hints towards whats going on, what caused it, what the shadow people are, why our main characters didn't die immediately like everyone else seemed to... Croatoan you say? I guess so, though it still explains nothing.
And no, I don't need to be spoon fed, and actually prefer ambiguity in movies like these, but there's so little here to chew on and digest, that drawing my own conclusion just seemed pointless. It had its moments, don't get me wrong, but there were just not enough of them.
Also, there's no 7th Street in Detroit. That's downriver a bit in Ecorse. I'm just sayin'.
Night of the Comet meets Pulse, but far less satisfying. that's pretty much the story here.
C- Not the Brad Anderson movie I'd have someone unfamiliar with the man's work start with, Vanishing on 7th Street needed to be tighter and a little bit more substantial. I'm not saying don't watch it, I'm just saying don't expect anything remotely close to the quality of Session 9 if you do.
Oh, and back to the point I opened with... politics. I blame politics.