This weekend I had the chance to watch Vanishing on 7th Street starring Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo, and Jacob Latimore. I had never heard of it until it popped up as a suggestion in my Blockbuster queue associated with either Skyline or The Darkest Hour or both. (Can’t quite remember now.)
ATTACK OF THE KILLER SHADOW PEOPLE
Vanishing on 7th Street started off somewhat reminiscent of Night of the Comet. Sans a sentinel comet event that either disintegrated people to ash (leaving nothing behind except their clothing) or changed them into zombie-like killing machines.
It began with John Leguizamo’s character, Paul, working the projection booth in a movie theater when all of a sudden the power cuts off. The lights go out, but when they come back on, everyone who had been in the theater is gone…except for their pile of clothes marking the place they had been either sitting or standing.
Confused, Paul wanders in search of others. He finds one other survivor, a security guard in the mall where the movie theater is.
Together they go looking for answers, which lasts maybe two stores. The security guard spots something, goes in to investigate, and that’s when a shadow rushes him and poof! Just like that, he’s gone too. Into thin air. Only his clothes remain behind.
The scene ends with the shadow thing rushing towards Paul before going black and cutting to Hayden Christensen’s character, Luke, who’s waking up to find the world a very different one in the morning than the one he said goodnight to.
Eventually Paul, Luke, and Thandie Newton’s characters find each other in a bar on 7th Street, where they also discover a boy named James, played by Jacob Latimer, waiting for his mother to come back from checking out the church. The bar has lights, which become a valuable commodity in keeping the shadow spirits away, because it’s powered by a generator.
However, the shadow beings are quickly sucking up any kind of electrical energy. Battery-powered flashlights don’t last but minutes. Even though they have gas galore to power the generator, it’s also not going to last because it’s losing voltage or something. (I didn’t understand the terminology but I certainly understood the dilemma.)
STAY IN THE LIGHT
Vanishing on 7th Street got a solid three stars on Blockbuster. It’s rated at 4.9 on a scale of 10 at IMDB. I think the Blockbuster rating is fair, but the IMDB one is a little low. I’d give it at least a 6.5, maybe even a 7. I’m glad I gave it a chance. To my surprise, it chilled me.
I say chilled as opposed to full on scare because the scenario was more chilling than scary. What if shadow people suddenly attacked and what? Swallowed people up? I’m not sure they killed them. *WARNING! SPOILER ALERT*
The shadow people seemed to almost “convert” those they closed in on. Three of the four main characters (I won’t spoil it all the way by saying which ones) turned into whispering shadow beings too once their safety lights faded and left them vulnerable to the dark.
That’s what made it chilling. That and that the sun wasn’t staying up like normal either. The shadows had more and more darkness each day to claim as their own.
I also have to say the images in the final scenes were also quite haunting. I give high marks to the subdued, yet still extremely effective, special effects used in this movie. They weren’t over the top, which was perfect. They lent perfectly to the atmosphere.
The thing I maybe liked most about Vanishing on 7th Street was it’s attempt to interpret what might have happened on Roanoke Island in 1590. You know the story. When a whole colony seemed to vanish into thin air leaving only one cryptic word behind: “Croatoan.”
All I know is shadow people make me very uneasy. Maybe that’s why I liked this movie so much. It played on that fear and played hard.
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