I never thought I’d hate a post apocalyptic movie for being too grim and miserable. But surely enough one of the biggest downfalls of “Vanishing on 7th Street” is that it’s so downbeat it cuts off any chance of entertainment. I know that grim and hopeless moods come with tales about the end of the world, but director Brad Anderson almost has nothing to do with his premise and concept, thus he revolves his story around a series of very unlikable characters. It’s a shame considering director Brad Anderson is such a competent often brilliant director, but he’s behind the camera lensing what is an obviously incomplete movie.
Worse more, the screenwriters seem to have concocted this idea for the end of the world and then never really run with it. It’s about the end of the world through darkness, and the darkness introduces these enigmatic shadowy creatures that consume humans and envelope them in to the abyss of the darkness. Who or what is bringing on this phenomenon? Why did it suddenly sneak up on humanity? When did it start? We’re never really told. While the movie shouldn’t hold our hands through every bit of the narrative, the monsters come off more as inexplicable rather than ambiguous. They’re there just to give our characters something to battle as the world ends, and nothing else, really.
There are tip-offs at perhaps the monsters being angels meant to destroy humanity, or demons that have overtaken the darkness. Really there’s just a lot of goofy hinting, and nothing ever feels as if even the writers know what monsters they’ve created. A group of people find that the world has ended and everyone has disappeared in to a haze of shadows. Sentient shadows that can be repelled by light, but once the darkness rises, they can lure others in to their world and—I don’t know—make them one of them or kill them. Or maybe they just allow them to cease to exist. It’s never explained. We just know they have a human façade of some kind, and they may or may not be demonic essences of the humans that once were.
Or something. It’s all so confusing. There’s even indication that the days are getting shorter and shorter, with the light fading out faster. So is it the work of the demonic entities in the shadows? Or is it some act of God that is allowing the demons to overcome the world quicker? And why hide out in a bar with electric light hen you can just walk around with fire and torches? “Vanishing on 7th Street” has a lot of room to become a grim and terrifying apocalyptic tale, but it feels like a painfully under developed and half hearted attempt at an epic horror story about the end of the world that can’t make heads or tails of its own ideas.