Vanishing On 7th Street (2011)

Vanishing On 7th Street (2011)


Release Date: February 18th 2011 (US)
Certificate: tbc ¦ Running Time: tbc

Director: Brad Anderson

Cast: Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton

Official Film Site

What if you woke up one morning and the world as you know it vanished? Director Brad Anderson uses this as the backdrop to his latest film Vanishing on 7th Street, an apocalyptic thriller that taps into one of humankind’s most primal anxieties: fear of the dark.

Sometimes referred to as nyctophobia, scotophobia, lygophobia, or achluophobia, the fear of the dark, according to psychoanalysts such as Sigmund Freud, stems from our anxieties of separation.

Set in Detroit when an unexplained blackout leaves the city in total darkness, by the time the sun rises only a handful of people remain. Heaps of clothing and discarded belongings lie everywhere, cars are left abandoned, planes fall out of the sky and there’s nothing but the deafening silence as one of the survivors, Luke (Hayden Christensen), tries to find out what happened.

As we near 2012, no doubt we’ll continue to see more apocalyptic thrillers like this one where there’s an unexplained event at the heart of a greater mystery. A second clip from the movie shows Paul (John Leguizamo) not only coming face to face with the darkness but being consumed by it. From what we’ve seen so far, Vanishing on 7th Street has the potential to be a terrifying suspense thriller with a great story, something which director Brad Anderson recognised.

“I saw this as having enormous commercial potential, but it’s also really smart and challenging for the audience. It’s a very dark thriller, but it’s equally about how people behave and how they deal with unusual circumstances, whether supernatural or circumstantial.”

Anderson, who studied anthropology in college, is keen to apply his insight in human behaviour to his films. Transsiberian (2008) and The Machinist (2004) are two outstanding examples of films which explore human nature and why people do the things they do. Both are directed by Anderson, as well as the television series Fringe.

“Other cultures and rituals have always fascinated me. Making films that document cultural behavior somehow evolved into making dramatic narratives. I think it has helped me learn how to talk and listen to actors to help them shape their performances. Perhaps it gave me some kind of insight into human behavior.”

The handful of survivors in Vanishing on 7th Street make their way to a rundown bar, night falls once again. Whispering shadows soon start to surround them and they find the enemy is the darkness itself. Vanishing on 7th Street could help us to not only ask questions like “What if you woke up one morning and the world as you know it vanished?” but might help us to answer them as well, because who knows what might happen on December 21st 2012!

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