‘The Vanishing’ Review: The Dude Doesn’t Abide

Posted in The Screening Room by - October 15, 2014

The Vanishing is not a good film, its sub par at best. It bears similarities to the original film in early plot and name only, deciding to take a stereotypically American take on most of the film. It’s unfortunate that American remakes of foreign horror films decide to ruin the everything that made the original so great just to water it down for American palates. The only saving grace in this dreadful American remake is Jeff Bridges who transcends the film with his creepy performance as Barney Cousins.

Jeff Bridges as Cousins is a real creep. He’s a family man with dark secret that he can’t contain but doesn’t even try to. He kidnaps Sandra Bullock’s character and buries her alive just because he can. There is no guilt about what he does but loves to toy with Keifer Sutherland’s character who is looking for Bullock. There is an attempt to humanize Cousins by having him interact with his daughter but it does little to create sympathy for his character. Its disappointing that Cousins isn’t the main focus of the film since he really is the only interesting part.

Keifer Sutherland and Nancy Travis do nothing for the film. They are both one dimensional and poorly written. Sutherland is a talented actor when given something to work with but The Vanishing gives him nothing to work with. It’s too bad because his character is the main focus of the film and is onscreen the majority of the film. It could have been an interesting character study in a character driven to madness by the search for a lost loved one, but instead he is boring. Same with Travis, she is not entertaining nor does anything for the film. Woman in horror films are traditionally not written very well and The Vanishing does little to change that.

It’s too bad that this film isn’t worth watching. Jeff Bridges is one of the greatest actors of our generation and too see him underutilized is a real shame. The real shitty part of this film is the ending. Its such a cop-out that it boggles the mind how the writers thought changing it so drastically would be better. American remakes shy away from depressing endings that challenge the viewers instead giving them a cheap happy ending. This movie suffers from that remake problem, watch the original not this one.

Final Say: Skip It

Who Said What?

Barney Cousins:  “I don’t need a gun. Your obsession is my weapon.”

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Chris Stachiw is the Editor-in-Chief and co-host of the Kulturecast. He’s a native Californian with a penchant for sarcasm and a taste for the cinematic bizarre. You’ll often find him wandering the wasteland of Nebraska searching for the meaning of life and possibly another rare Pokemon.

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