Vanishing on 7th Street (2010)

132.

★★★

Directed by: Brad Anderson
Written by: Anthony Jaswinski
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo

There are plenty of apocalyptic films (good ones too) that have covered all the different ways us puny humans could be wiped out. From zombie invasions to contagions, the end of the world has taken many forms onscreen. Vanishing on 7th Street presents an interesting premise in the apocalyptic genre. The cause of mankind’s demise is a thing without a name- an all-consuming darkness that makes people disappear without a trace… save for their clothes.

Luke (Christensen) is a reporter. Rosemary (Newton) is a nurse and mother. Paul (Leguizamo) is a film projectionist. James is a twelve year old boy. But when the world suddenly has its lights shut off and people start disappearing on mass, these four are left to survive against a force that is near impossible to escape. So long as there is a light source, it is possible to survive. The shadows, however, have cunning ways of luring people into dead ends and traps, using the false promise of finding loved ones as a way of cutting out the lights and turning their victims into a shadow.

Baby, when the lights go out. (courtesy of Five)

Vanishing on 7th Street feels very similar to The Darkest Hour. Nevertheless, Vanishing on 7th Street handles its dark apocalyptic force in a more satisfying manner. For one thing, it pares down its characters, their motivations, goals, and the rules of the game. The film doesn’t kill off the characters one by one in the way that we might expect. Instead, Vanishing on 7th Street keeps us on our toes with small twists in the road and suspenseful light-flickering that will have us watching to the dark and bitter end.

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