MPAA Rated – Not rated.
It’s 1:19 Long
A Review by:
Andy Labis

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Maiara Walsh, Danny Trejo, Tony Todd, Austin Abke, Bryan Bockbrader, Adam Guthrie
MPAA Rated: Not Rated.
Released By: Dark Sky Films
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Kiddie Movie: Send them to bed. Lots of blod!
Date Movie: If she likes blood-splattering thrillers.
Gratuitous Sex: There is an attempted rape in the van, though it doesn’t turn out too well for the dude.
Gratuitous Violence: Headshots, shotgun blasts, machetes, and a handy little cutting saw help with the blood splatter.
Action: Not really much action.
Laughs: Some chuckles.
Memorable Scene: Emma kicking the crap out of Shane.
Memorable Quote: “What kind of amateur bullshit is this?”
Directed By: Bryan Bockbrader
Extras on the Blu-Ray: The bloopers were decent enough, and I actually liked seeing the alternate endings.

The press release said: “three thugs viciously kidnap a drug cartel boss’ only daughter from her home in broad daylight.” With that I was a little confused at the opening scene of VANish as a dude and his lover were being abducted at night, in the California hills. Now let’s cut to the next scene of two dudes in a van, talking calmly amongst each other as dudes will talk, and I’m wondering where is the third dude? Is this the van? And what happened to those people in the first scene?

Little did I know the importance of the first abduction to the plot of the movie, to be explained during a later scene, and now I was being fully introduced to possibly the dumbest trio of kidnappers that there have ever been in a movie. That’s okay, though, because the trio of dopes really made VANish an entertaining film in the realm of blood-splattering thrillers.

So, yea, the basic plot of the movie is that this girl, Emma (Maiara Walsh) is kidnapped by these three dopes, Jack (Austin Abke), Max (Bryan Bockbrader), and Shane (Adam Guthrie), who send out a ransom demand to her father the drug cartel boss, Carlos (Danny Trejo). As the movie progresses somehow our kidnappers figure it is okay to untie Emma, who now seems to be along for the ride so that she can see her Daddy who pretty much abandoned her years earlier, we learn why Jack really kidnapped Emma and wants to find Carlos, and in their travels through the deserted roads, of course our heroes get pulled over by a cop, Officer Darrow (Tony Todd at his genre finest), and while Jack is fairly calm about the whole thing, it’s his friends who are basket cases, complete with the cliched line of “I’m going to smoke him!”

The thing is, it’s a scene like this that keeps you knowing this is just supposed to be an entertaining movie, and if the blood-splattering thriller is your kind of movie, VANish keeps up the good time, especially as we get to the climactic “takeover” scene in the van, and the final shoot-out with Carlos and the drug cartel where we also find out that Carlos might be the worst shot ever with an automatic weapon.

I did have a lot of questions after the movie was over like how is Emma alive after seeming to lose so much blood, how was the one dude able to function after having his face sawed off, and what do you do with a van filled with so much blood splatter after you get back home? Also, even though I enjoyed all of the gratuitous violence, the fingers getting chopped of by the machete and then spraying blood everywhere really seemed like the ultimate in cliches.

In the realm of the blood-splattering thrillers VANish isn’t a masterpiece, but it was interestingly shot, mostly from the perspective inside the van, and done pretty well I must say. Also, even though mostly unknown actors, they all hold their own in their roles, and Danny Trejo is always a treat. I was entertained, got mostly what I was hoping for, and in the end really like VANish, so much so that it gets 4 stars out of 5 from me. It clocked in at a nearly perfect 79 minutes, which was nice because that means there wasn’t a lot of dragging things out, and even the extras on the Blu-ray were kind of fun, especially the van breaking down on the side of the road warranting a call to AAA, and I actually saw a purpose to the alternate endings they provided, showing how they could be stupid in my opinion (the 3rd one), and almost as good as the original (the 1st alternate).

Watch VANish for what it is and you should have a good time.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!