Vanishing on 7th Street (2010)
By: Devon B. on October 22, 2013 | Comments
Magnet | Region A | 2.35:1, 1080p | English DTS-HD MA 7.1 | 91 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Vanishing on 7th Street  Blu-ray
Credits
Director: Brad Anderson
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo, Jacob Latimore, Taylor Groothuis
Screenplay: Anthony Jaswinski
Country: USA
Ever since the Star Wars prequels I've diligently avoided movies starring Hayden Christensen, but then he turned up in a movie directed by Brad Anderson. Anderson also directed Session 9, a movie so good I sometimes wonder if it's not the best horror movie of all time. Anderson's plus cancelled out Christensen's minus, so I broke my eight year anti-Christensen streak and watched Vanishing on 7th Street.

Christensen stars as a guy who is once again trying to avoid the dark side, but this time there are no Midi-chlorians, or at least I wasn't aware of any. A blackout occurs and everyone that wasn't lucky enough to have an alternate light source around during said blackout disappears. Nights get longer and electrics become less and less reliable, which is a problem because there are eerie shapes lurking in the creeping darkness that follows the remaining people around. Christensen finds a pub with a generator and some other survivors, but the generator is struggling and apparently none of them is smart enough to build a bonfire.

Christensen certainly doesn't avoid his Star Wars legacy here by playing a character named Luke. He also is a Han Solo, lookin' out for number one type, but after that the Star Wars comparisons end. Christensen is much, much better here than he was in the prequels… I know, I know, it would be virtually impossible to be worse. Christensen himself has admitted that his acting was poor in the prequels, and his performance in Vanishing on 7th Street indicates that he is capable of more than George Lucas got out of him. I don't feel the burning need to see every movie he's ever done, but I feel like I could happily give him a go in another role, which is something I never thought I'd say when I saw Attack of the Clones. So, I say to others that might pass up Vanishing on 7th Street because of Christensen, there's no need for that.

Christensen may not have been the massive minus I was expecting, but unfortunately Vanishing on 7th Street is marred by its story. The script is okay, but doesn't offer up much new idea wise, and it feels like an extended Twilight Zone episode. That would be fine, but given Andersen's talent for making the dark scary, it seems like Vanishing on 7th Street should've been one of the most sinister movies ever and it's not. Andersen gives it his all, creating menace in every nook and cranny that he can, but the story and characters are never that engaging. Because the survivors aren't that interesting the movie has to be carried by the villainous silhouettes, and for the most part they do the job. The CG imagery is usually solid, giving the prowling dread much opportunity to slide across the screen in a threatening manner, but there are times when the FX distract from the effect Andersen was going for.

Vanishing on 7th Street isn't on par with Session 9, but then very little is. Vanishing on 7th Street is still a decent thriller that will rattle those afraid of what hides in the shadows, but it could've been more if the script had a little extra substance.
The Disc
Vanishing on 7th Street had to be heavily processed, so can look odd at times, but that's not the fault of the transfer. The film looks sharp and clear, but it's got a lot of blackness so it was never going to be a reference disc. Detail is visible when light is present, and the darkness is handled well. There was a touch of macroblocking, but for the most part any flaws on the video are present on the source material. The audio track is a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix. The film isn't a loud one overall, but it does have the occasional explosion. The slinking shadows provide a bit of opportunity for the surrounds to kick in, and the track is well designed to boost the ominous vibe of the movie. The Blu-ray comes with alternate endings; two short featurettes; a short behind the scenes montage; interviews; HDNet's look at the movie; a commentary track; the trailer and trailers for Black Death, I Saw the Devil, 13 Assasins, Hobo with a Shotgun and Rubber. The alternate endings are pretty much the same ending with a few minor tweaks, so aren't even worth looking at. The making of featurettes have the cast and crew discussing the story and the making of the film, with the second featurette focusing on capturing the mood of the movie. There are two interviews conducted by Fangoria, one with Anderson and one with a child actor, and combined the interviews run about 30 minutes. The commentary is with Anderson, who points out a cameo by Larry Fessenden, talks about concessions that had to be made, discusses how he achieved higher production value and things that happened to give the film the look that it has. Those hoping for answers about what's going on will be sad, as Anderson seems more content to point out the obvious than reveal all about the intentionally ambiguous story.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Vanishing on 7th Street may not have lived up to my expectations when I heard it was directed by Anderson, but it's still a pretty good movie, it just needed more depth. I thought Vanishing on 7th Street was okay the first time I saw it, but it seemed like a movie that would really benefit from an HD presentation, so I got frustrated when I found the only Blu-ray available was locked to Region A. I now have a Region A capable player, but it still bewilders me that at a time when the entertainment industry is so worried about people not buying legitimate releases of things they continue to prevent potential purchasers from buying a particular release. It's all well and good to say, "Buy a copy," but to have the coupled with "No, not that copy, a different one," seem ludicrous to me. Particularly when, as with this film, there is no Region B release for English speaking territories, or at least not one that I could find. So the entertainment industry's way to increase sales is to completely prohibit sales, and they wonder why they're in trouble? Anyway, the Blu-ray is a solid, if Region A locked, release, so those that can play it should be happy with it.
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