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10 San Diego Uptown News | March 4-17, 2011


WHAT'S UP! Old school 'B' horror film works budget wisely SCOTT MARKS / FILM REVIEW


Thandie Newton and Hayden Christensen in “Vanishing on 7th Street.” (Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing)


“Vanishing on 7th Street” Directed by Brad Anderson Written by Anthony Jaswinski Starring: Hayden Christiansen, Thandie Newton, John Leguizamo and Jacob Latimore Rating: 3.5 out of 5


An all consuming incorporeal black mist (vulnerable only to brightness) claims the lives of everyone in greater metropoli- tan Detroit save four: Rosemary (Thandie Newton), a churchgoing


doctor, TV field reporter Luke (Hayden Christiansen), 9-year-old James and Paul (John Leguizamo), an AMC projectionist. The four gather at Sonny’s Bar—a colorful, openly unprogressive juke joint— where they hide cloaked by the light awaiting the apocalypse. “Vanishing on 7th Street” is a fine time at the movies, a good old-fashioned “B” horror film that uses its budgetary limitations to its advantage. Instead of camping it up, screenwriter Anthony Jaswin-


ski and director Brad Anderson respect their genre (and audience) by playing it straight. There are periodic bursts of a computer graphic augmentationan airplane falling from the sky adds an eerie reminder of Sept. 11—but all are put to sound and effective use. We’re inside a projection booth when the blackout first hits. Fearing bright objects, a shaft of light is a fairly safe place to take shelter if and when the masque of the black plague comes wafting through your town. Paul is my kind of opera- tor. Respectful of his audience, he keeps the booth overheads off, making his way from platter to platter with only an LED head strap to light the way. The head torch is also a nifty foreshadow- ing device that helps to estab- lish the character’s upcoming dependence on battery-powered sources of illumination to help stave off eternal nightfall. Paul prides himself, and right- fully so, on never having missed a reel change until a seemingly rou- tine power outage instantly plunges the Motor City into unfathomable darkness. The downstairs lobby and mall are shorn of humanity; all that remains are individual piles of rumpled clothing, the stylish shells of their former occupants, as far as the eye can see.


In a city without electricity the Pick Up our Next Issue March 18 sduptownnews.com or gay-sd.com Visit us on


Jacob Latimore and Thandie Newtonv in “Vanishing on 7th Street.” (Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing)


man with the generator is king and Sonny’s blaring sign slices through the darkness beaming a neon welcome mat for survivors to spot. James stands waiting with shotgun in hand when Luke stumbles into the joint. James’ mother tends bar and he was awaiting her return when the outside world suddenly went black. With the end of the world rapidly approaching, a belt or two won’t make a difference so Luke uncorks a bottle and raises a glass with the boy. In a few short years Brad Ander- son (“Next Stop Wonderland,” “The Machinist,” “Transsiberian”) has proven himself a man open to many genres. Anderson embraces the


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dark, which makes “7th Street’s” celluloid nemesis his ultimate nightmare creation. It’s reminiscent at heart of the sinuous Technicolor green “Angel of Death” that swept through the streets of backlot Egypt in Cecil B. DeMille’s remake of his own “The Ten Command- ments.” While C.B. had Bible sto- ries to fall back on, Anderson offers no explanation as to why his shroud of darkness is rapidly eating away at the earth’s population and daylight savings time. Just go with it! “Vanishing on 7th Street” opens


March 4 exclusively at Landmark’s Ken Cinema.


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