Writer: Todd Graff (Screenplay) Tim Krabbe (Novel)
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, Nancy Travis, Sandra Bullock, Park Overall, Maggie Linderman
Plot: The boyfriend of an abducted woman never gives up the search as the abductor looks on.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Disturbingly Good Horror
Story: The Vanishing starts as we meet everyday teacher, father and husband Barney Cousins (Bridges) who has been researching kidnapping, measuring his heart rate when it comes to the interaction while also searching for a method to drug his victims.
We move onto meet young couple Jeff (Sutherland) and Diane (Bullock) who are travelling cross country for their vacation, but when Diane vanishes at a gas station, Jeff is left powerless for options with the police offering no support until she has been missing 24 hours.
3 years later Diane is still missing and Jeff is still searching for answers. Jeff ends up giving up on his search when he meets Rita (Travis) a woman who gives him a new outlook on life but when he goes to get his book publicised he is asked to write a book about the disappearance of Diane. This opens up old wounds that will test his new relationship.
The game changes when Barney confronts Jeff offering him the answers but only if he joins him on the journey that Diane also went on.
Thoughts on The Vanishing
Characters/Performance – Barney comes of calm, calculated and is willing to experiment when it comes to his technique. He is a loving father, husband and science teacher but deep down he is one of the great psychopaths you could imagine on film. He even has the guts to face his victim’s boyfriend to offer the answers he is looking for. Jeff is a good boyfriend but once Diane goes missing he becomes a desperate man with nothing to lose just needing to know the answers to what happened to her, he doesn’t care if she had just left him but he is being destroyed by the unknown. Rita is the new love interest for Jeff but doesn’t understand how his need for answers could come between them even if he loves her. Diane is the victim that we only see her disappearance and flashbacks.
Jeff Bridges shines in this role as a psycho you couldn’t pick out on the street corner and this could easily be one of his most underrated roles. Kiefer continued to show he was going onto bigger and better things in this role with Nancy Travis and Sandra Bullock both showing their skills through the film.
Story – The story which could be a run of the mill killer turns into a film surrounded in uncertainty as our hero deals with the loss of a loved one in what can only be one of the most disturbing ways possible. We have a killer that isn’t serial but interested in just how far he can go. I do know this is a remake but in the end this works on the levels required for the story being told.
Horror/Mystery/Thriller – Horror, well once you see what Barney does to Diane you will reach the horror levels you need to see, the mystery is what Jeff must suffer through just not knowing what happened with the thrilling side of this film being us working out what will happen next.
Settings – The settings show us just how easy it could have been for a serial killer to get away with his victims, while this only focuses on one killing the idea shows how it could have been going on for years.
Final Thoughts – This must go down as one of the more disturbing horror films out there which can be enjoyed by all the fans of the genre.
Overall: I must say this is a must watch for all the horror fans out there.