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Vanishing on 7th St.

Death by Shadow

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

Vanishing on 7th Street sounds, in theory, better than it actually is. Set in post-apocalyptic Detroitm it’s part survivor thriller, part horror as four people try to survive a blackened world. Brad Anderson, best known for The Machinist and Transsiberian, isn’t able to breathe any life into this limp picture. It’s basically devoid of any character development or plot, resulting in a film that’s DOA.

Honestly, the film barely progresses from its tag line. One day there’s a global blackout that causes almost everyone to just disappear, leaving only their clothes behind. For reasons unknown, a few survive who have to navigate a world slowly becoming devoid of light. Not only are the days becoming rapidly shorter, but batteries also don’t last and electronics are dead.

One survivor is Luke (Hayden Christiansen) who comes across a bar (on 7th Street!) that is oddly still glowing. Inside he finds a boy, James (Jacob Latimore), whose mother left but hasn’t returned. Rosemary (Thandie Newton), a nurse, and Paul (John Leguizamo), who is found concussed, soon join them. Fighting against time as the bar’s backup generator slowly dies, they notice figures in the shadows that creep up with the darkness. Their only hope is to cling onto any light they have.

It’s a film that should be simple and as it focuses on these four characters stuck in a bar together. Instead, we get a thinly veiled characterization that comes out of nowhere, like Rosemary remembering her baby’s first words as “light Mama,” with amusing irony. Rather than amusing, it’s clichéd and poorly written dialogue. In fact, much of the film’s problems stem from its script.

Written by Anthony Jaswinski, the script just goes nowhere. The dialogue is boring and the plot ends just about where it started. We really find out nothing. Not understanding the cause of the blackout would be fine if we could understand who these characters are and establish a relationship with them. Instea,d we’re left hoping the plot will advance, which it doesn’t.