The Vanishing (1988)
Genre: Horror Mystery Drama Thriller (Netherlands, France)
Starring: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu (Druids), Gene Bervotes
Directed By: George Sluizer
Overview: While on summer holidays, a young couple make a routine stop at a gas station. While running an errand Saskia disappears, leaving Rex to search for her in desperation.
Acting: This is one of those honest European Drama Thrillers where people are real, there's scenes where they freak out accordingly, or sociopathically sit there blinking in the face of tragic horror. The fact that everyone in this is comfortable and believable is part of what makes this movie freaky.
Cinematography: Can't say that any of this was inspired by any means. Professional and appropriate but no mood setting shots, no unique angles or montages. Just plain old steady cam. Sometimes that's nice, but it could have had more zing.
Script: I had issue with this from the very beginning. For the manager of the place where the girl goes missing to say, "How will the police know you didn't have a fight? They won't see it as a kidnapping until tomorrow." Little lines that made me wonder why they were even said, dialogue between our hero and the television crews or the other characters, there was just something contrived about what they said. It was enjoyable, don't get me wrong, but not genius.
Plot: Girl goes missing, guy looks for her, never giving up, and goes to extremes to figure out what happened at any cost. Would this story be better if it was based on a true story? For sure. It's so real that it easily could have, and that's what creeps everyone out I suppose. The ending is very impressive indeed and for as much at it was, there was a lot of build up. Again I'm not saying that it wasn't good, I just felt it suffered a little too much from the Thriller's great flaw of too much suspense, not enough substance.
Mood: The way this story goes follows a trend of curious commonness. It seems to show us how easy it is to do a thing like abduct someone, how little work it takes for someone who puts their mind to something to pull off an act this eerie. For this story to be without the atypical Thriller haunting music, cheap scares and silhouetted figures in the dark, it makes it more everyday. That is what the appeal here will be. Just a regular guy doing a job. This could happen to any of us.
Overall Rating: 74% (Won't Remember This One For Too Long)
Aftertaste: Look, I've read people go on about how great this is, and no it wasn't bad, it was entertaining and thrilling throughout, but it really wasn't all that worth the suspense to get that ending, interesting as it was. Hardly what I'd call a masterpiece. Can you imagine this director sold out and redid this in Hollywood starring Keifer Sutherland? America... Why can't you leave mediocre enough alone? That film bombed by the way, just thought you'd want to know...