When a film director steps into the horror genre with a film like Session 9 after a string of romantic comedies, it is hard to ignore the talents on display. Session 9 still stands amongst the best that the last decade had to offer us when it came to horror and Brad Anderson continued to carve out a dark little cinematic corner for himself with his later efforts, The Machinist, Transsiberian, and even a foray into The Masters of Horror series with his entry, Sounds Like. He is an artist whom you reserve a higher standard for when you sit down to watch one of his works. An American auteur who has yet to find his true signature film. I say all this because it pains me to reveal how much I hated Vanishing on 7th Street.
The film starts out in a Detroit theater where Paul, played by the annoying John Leguizamo, is in charge of manning the film reels. He is shown reading an excerpt from a book chronicling historic mysteries. He glances specifically at an old drawing of a word carved into a block of wood reading "croatoan", which evokes the lost colony of Roanoke. Leguizamo comes across to me as someone who should be reading the latest issue of Shaved Latinas...not an obvious plot device conveniently disguised as a history book. All of a sudden, after a silly attempt at some character development by way of a hot concession stand attendant, we are treated to the most promising portion of the film. The theater goes dark...and once the lights come back up lumps of empty clothing are seen throughout the theater as well as through the theater lobby. Everyone is gone! Feelings of the classic film, Night of the Comet immediately entered my mind. I thought to myself....HOLY SHIT!!! IT'S A REMAKE OF A BELOVED FILM FROM MY CHILDHOOD CLEVERLY DISGUISED AS A LAME JOHN LEGUIZAMO MOVIE!!! Well....soon those feelings of nostalgia dissolved when we are introduced to the "shadow people" or "souls" as Thandie Newton's character, Rosemary, calls the shadowy beings.
Oh yeah...Thandie Newton is in this...and while I'm at it...so is Hayden Christensen as a douchey television news guy who happens to survive the "blackout". While I'm on the subject of survivors....why do these idiots survive?? There's no real connection or purpose for them. As a matter of fact, Leguizamo comes across as such a dumbass meathead (he actually kicks an old backup generator that happens to be the sole source of power in a land overtaken by malevolent darkness in a fit of rage)...it's a wonder that such a neolithic moron could survive such an event. The only likable character was the little 12 1/2 year old kid played by Jacob Latimore.
The film gets stuck in the second act while our three survivors are holed up in a bar owned by James' (Latimore) mother, who incidentally went off into the darkness...leaving poor 12 1/2 year old James behind to fend for himself. Mother of the year. Anyway, usually, this portion of the film lends itself to character development and good tension build up....elements that Anderson should pull off pretty well. Unfortunately, the characters presented are all a bunch of whiny douchebags who you root to be offed in the most heinous of ways. With the exception of James, of course, he seems to be the only one who has it together....for the most part.
I really didn't care about this film once it got going. It was like one of those films that you keep watching in hopes of it becoming somewhat better...but, ultimately wastes everyone's time involved. Unfortunate, when you consider the talent behind the camera. Session 9 is a classic horror film. Vanishing on 7th Street is stupid. I wish I could tell you more about this film....but, I don't feel like delving into stupidity. I have other more pressing shit to do. The Rachael Ray show is about to come on and today she has guest, Nick Jonas on the show where he'll be judging the turkey-burger cook off!
Vanishing on 7th Street gets a 3 out of 10.
Recommendation: Catch it on USA Network/TNT on a random night
Thanks for reading,