04 March 2015

VANISH (or "VANish")


Alternate Spellings:
VANISH / Vanish

Working Title:

USA, 2015
Director: Bryan Bockbrader


Don't get fooled by its not-so-punny title: this movie is actually much better than you'd think it'd be. "VANish", the debut feature of young filmmaker Bryan Bockbrader, follows two buddies and a war vet who kidnap a young Mexican woman in order to demand ransom from her wealthy father. The supposed-to-be-easy trip to the place of delivery soon becomes a freaking hell ride when the buddies start to royally botch things up, while their hostage slowly brings the situation more and more under her control...

"VANish" entirely takes place in a van, a gimmick that could have gone horribly wrong in the, um, wrong hands - but Bockbrader handles it with a nonchalance that is almost scary. It works perfectly from start to finish. At no time, I was bored or annoyed by it - but that's not all, because "VANish" is first and foremost a brilliant homage to classic action exploitation, as well as to the early works of Tarantino and Rodriguez, complete with an ace pseudo-grindhouse look, lots of blood, gore and violence, lots of shootouts, brutal kills and harsh injuries.

The basic story isn't exactly original, but it's told in a powerful and gripping way, thanks to Bockbrader's terrific screenplay that's full of excellent and unexpected plot twists, interesting and likable characters, hilarious and super-witty dialogue:
"You know, under different circumstances, I think we would have made a helluva couple." - "I would have killed you in your sleep." - "My kind of girl!"
/ "I was climbing and the cord broke and my face violently kissed a boulder." - "Hehe, lucky boulder."
/ "Seriously, I've never been around a bigger group of pussys in my entire fucking life. Can we please just get this shit over with, so I can watch my dad put a bullet through your whiny-ass brains, please?"

The cast is thoroughly good: a stunning Maiara Walsh ("Desperate Housewives") as tough-ass uber-chick, very solid performances by first-time actors Austin Abke, Adam Guthrie and Bockbrader himself + a wonderful Tony Todd ("Candyman") as unbelievably cool cop (haven't seen him that great in quite some time) and a rad Danny Trejo as leader of a drug cartel who goes completely batshit insane when someone tries to hurt/kill him (haven't seen him that impressive in like forever).

Some scenes could have been paced a bit quicker and the ending was slightly underwhelming. Yet, overall, I really enjoyed it. Who needs exploitation rubbish like "Machete Kills" or "Zombie Hunter" when you can have gems like this? It's far from being perfect, but in terms of entertainment, it's just VANtastic ;)

Thanks to Bryan Bockbrader for the screener!


  1. Sounds watchable! :)

    Loving the green banner. It looks toxic! (love that your titles match it, too)

    1. Watchable indeed :)

      Yeah, it looks totally toxic. Thanks again, Yvonne!


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