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The Vanished (A Movie Review)

Updated: Aug 21, 2020


Starring Thomas Jane, Anne Heche, Jason Patric, John D. Hickman, Peter Facinelli, Alex Haydon, Aleksei Archer, Kristopher Wente, Mitchell L. Johnson, Kk Heim, Sadie Heim, Rebecca Lines, Lily Anne Harrison, Curtis Nichouls, Phillip Fomah, Mitchell Plumlee, Lucas Bentley, Marianne del Gallego, Shannon Cogan, Dean Shortland, Skyler Philpot and Gregory Harrison.

Screenplay by Peter Facinelli.

Directed by Peter Facinelli.

Distributed by Saban Films. 115 minutes. Rated R.

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. You are traveling in a strange area and suddenly your twelve-year-old daughter disappears. You’re in a strange place, you know no one there, you are on pins and needles wondering where she is and how you can help.

It turns out that there is a homicidal escaped prisoner on the loose somewhere. Bodies are starting to pile up locally. And what’s the deal with the creepy guy who runs the RV park they are staying, which has only one other couple there. Also, a little suspicious is the park’s introverted assistant.

This is the situation that Paul (Thomas Jane) and Wendy (Anne Heche) find themselves in. And yet, something is a little bit off about it. The couple have a fragile, fraying connection (the actors are a real-life couple and play off each other well) and yet many of the things they do don’t seem to make much sense.

Which, I suppose, could have to do with the high-stress situation they find themselves in, but…

I must admit one little odd tidbit about the family kind of stood out to me from the start, but I just assumed I was just reading a little too much into it. Later, it turned out that it was a big part of the surprise ending, so maybe I should have trusted my instincts a little bit more.

The Vanished is the second film directed by actor Peter Facinelli (Twilight, Nurse Jackie) and the first one he has written and directed. (He also wrote a couple of earlier screenplays in 2011.) He also takes a supporting role as a local deputy.

The Vanishing has a clean, hard b-movie grindhouse vibe, smartly put together but a bit far-fetched. It’s hard to say what someone would do in that kind of situation, but some of the couple’s actions are more than a little bit disturbed and disturbing.

In the meantime, the local cops, led by stoic Sheriff Baker (Jason Patric) – who also has lost a child, though not to foul play, so he takes this case very personally – are trying to sort out what is happening.

It’s a tense, smart idea for a movie, though the more we learn about what is happening, the more that the film slightly spins out of control. It has a true jaw-dropper of a surprise reveal, but I’m not sure I can 100% say it was a satisfying one.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2020 All rights reserved. Posted: August 21, 2020.

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