VANish actually was a surprisingly well done, if not flawed, suspense thriller with what is hopefully a star-making performance by Maiara Walsh while the writing and direction from Bryan Bockbrader was well done with a unique format with the film entirely taking place in the confines of a van.
Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Crime
MPI Media Group | NR – 79 min. – $29.98 | February 24, 2015
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
Generally I’m not a fan of gimmick movies and the latest has the film taking place entirely within the confines of a van (using various vantage points). And even though this style has been used before, previously in Vehicle 19 starring Paul Walker, with limited success. However, VANish does a better job combining action, suspense and dark humor and thankfully doesn’t overstay its welcome with a 79-minute running time.
The story opens in a wannabe Quentin Tarantino-style bit of dialogue between half-brothers Jack (AUSTIN ABKE) and Max (BRYAN BOCKBRADER) in what sounds like casual conversation before pulling up to a nice house, putting masks on, breaking into a home and carrying out a young woman, we later know as Emma (MAIARA WALSH), tied up and gagged and thrown into the back of the van. After psycho Max beats the snot out of a concerned neighbor, they make off for a quick getaway.
After stopping by on persona business, they pick up Shane (ADAM GUTHRIE), who served with Jack overseas. They make a phone call to a drug cartel lord (DANNY TREJO) who happens to be Emma’s estranged father, demanding $5 million. Of course, this is a big mistake and the beginning of chaos for the four from a hard-ass cop (TONY TODD) to Mexican cartel hit men.
Quick Hit Review: VANish actually was far better than I expected. Sure, the acting is a bit spotty at times but for the most part, despite 2 out of the 4 main characters being psychopaths, I thought it was thoroughly entertaining. The movie was written and directed by Bryan Bockbrader, who also co-starred, marks his feature-film debut and seems heavily influenced by Tarantino and does a decent enough imitation, though obviously doesn’t have the sharp tongue for dialogue.
The acting, as I said, wasn’t fantastic but good enough. Austin Abke and Bryan Bockbrader (credited just as Bryan Brock) are alright though Abke was a capable lead, Adam Guthrie does go a bit over-the-top however in one scene, it was delightfully blood and darkly funny. But the star of the show is Mairara Walsh who enters the pantheon of women who kick ass, another similarity to Tarantino (sans foot fetish), and hopefully she gets more exposure with higher profile flicks.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
Audio Commentary features Writer/Director/Actor Bryan Bockbrader & Actor Adam Guthrie as both provide a congenial and entertaining track with behind-the-scenes info.
Blooper Reel (8:10; HD) with your usual on-set antics, line flubs and… van breakdowns.
Alternate Endings (9:26; HD) – We get a couple alt. endings which provide different outcomes but on the whole nothing significant and what was shown was the right choice.
Trailer (1:32; HD)
VIDEO – 3.5/5
Vanish arrives on Blu-ray presented with a 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. Although this isn’t the most beautiful film to look at, probably due to the low budget quality at times, it’s still a decent transfer with good colors where skin tones appear to be natural.
AUDIO – 3.75/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a tad better with good dialogue levels throughout. Where the track falters is in the few action-packed scenes which don’t have the depth compared to others of the genre.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, VANish actually was a surprisingly well done, if not flawed, suspense thriller with what is hopefully a star-making performance by Maiara Walsh while the writing and direction from Bryan Bockbrader was well done with a unique format with the film entirely taking place in the confines of a van. The Blu-ray released by MPI has adequate video/audio transfers and an OK selection of bonus material.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.