This week offers a wide-ranging edition of the Cinefantastique Round Table Podcast, including capsule reviews by Dan Persons of three films currently in release: GNOMEO & JULIET, Disney’s animated adaptation of Shakespeare; VANISHING ON 7TH STREET, an independent film with a TWILIGHT ZONE vibe making its way around the country with art house engagements; and WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, a cannibal horror story from IFC Films, currently playing exclusively in New York. Also up for discussion: the news that Michelle Pfeiffer is being courted to play Elizabeth Collins in DARK SHADOWS, the big-screen adaptation of the Gothic soap opera, set to be directed by Tim Burton with Johnny Depp as reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins. And Steve Biodrowski celebrates Christopher Lee’s recent BAFTA Fellowship Award with a double-bill screening of SCREAM OF FEAR and THE GORGON. All this, plus the usual round-up of news, theatrical events, and home video releases.
Brad Anderson knows his way around old school horror — you know, the kind that relies on atmosphere and suggestion, the kind values the power of the disturbing thought as much as or more than threateningly wielded power tools and bleeding limb-stumps. In films such as THE MACHINIST (where Christian Bale almost literally wasted away on-screen) and SESSION 9 (where David Caruso went slowly nuts listening to a tape recording) he got considerable mileage out of the power of nuance. Now, with VANISHING ON 7TH STREET, he turns the encroaching dark into a malevolent force, throwing Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, and John Leguizamo together to face the deadly (and digitally enhanced) shadows. “Watch this with the lights on,” is an old cliché, but in this case, it’s all too applicable.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Anderson.
Magnet Releasing offers limited theatrical engagements of this TWILIGHT ZONE-type film, with engagements starting in New York, Los Angeles, Denver and Philadelphia in February, then expanding to San Diego, Portland, Seattle and more in March. The story: When a massive power blackout causes a city’s population to vanish, a handful of survivors band together inside a tavern in an effort to survive as darkness approaches. Brad Anderson directs from a script by Anthony Jaswinski. Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton, and John Leguizamo head the cast.
Advance word suggests that the film’s atmosphere is impressive, but the plot line feels like a half-hour episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE stretched to feature length.
New York, NY: Village East Cinemas
West Los Angeles, CA: Nuart Theatre
Denver, CO: Mayan Theatre
Philadelphia, PA: Ritz at the Bourse
San Diego, CA: Ken Cinema
Royal Oak, MI: Main Art Theatre
Portland, OR: Hollywood Theatre
Seattle, WA: Varsity Theatre
Palm Desert, CA: Cinemas Palme D’Or 7
Columbus, OH: Gateway 8
You can check Magnet Releasing’s website for additional playdates.
Check out the recently released trailer for the new horror/thriller THE VANISHING ON 7TH STREET. Starring Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo, and directed by Brad Anderson (SESSION 9) this film follows a group of people as they fight to survive in a world slowly going dark:
A mysterious, seemingly global blackout causes countless populations to simply vanish, leaving only their clothes and possessions behind. A small handful of survivors band together in a dimly-lit tavern on 7th Street, struggling to combat the apocalyptic horror. Realizing they may in fact be the last people on earth, the darkness hones in on them alone.
If the trailer is any indication, Mr. Anderson may have another hit on his hands. THE VANISHING ON 7TH STREET debuts in theaters later this year.