@TigersMS78 hits the road with his review of VANish...
Bryan Bockbrader's VANish comes off as 90's indie action and exploitation/pulp film smashed together and that is in no way meant to be a negative. Made on a budget VANish delivers more bang for your buck.
VANish is the story of Emma (Maiara Walsh) who gets kidnapped by possibly the most inept kidnappers this side of a Coen brothers film. Jack (Austin Abke), Max (Bryan Bockbrader) & Shane (Adam Guthrie) are the would-be kidnappers, only problem is Emma is the daughter of very bad man...
Bockbrader's script is fast paced, violent and pulpy as hell - which is fine because it suits the story. Jack, Max or Shane aren't very likable characters and it does grind on you but they all spark off each other, so that is at least a small mercy. Each one has a different interaction/attitude toward Emma and despite Emma being the captive, it certainly doesn't appear so at times, she sees how inept these guys are and plays them off beautifully. Just like his script Bockbrader's direction is also fast paced this despite almost all of the action taking place in the titular van .With the van being the focal point of film, its a good thing that Bockbrader makes the absolute most out of it, keeping things in close quarters and it works well for the most part and certainly ups the urgency when needed.
The acting is good from all the main players, the guys help move the film along but Maiara Walsh is great in this, as her character holds the film together, she had to be front and centre of almost every scene and own it - which she did. Her scoldings of the kidnappers were hilarious. A few slight issues but as a total package the cast is solid as a rock. Danny Trejo and Tony Todd make cameos in the film, Tony Todd's character is a real hoot, despite the short stay.
As the film hurtles along we get more and more revelations from those in the van. Bit by bit we start to see the full picture and as always we things go pear shaped in this kind of film, things get violent and bloody. I mentioned before that the film has an exploitation/pulp edge and you definitely see it in the violence. Multiple stabbings,amputations, shootings, beatings that all bear such a gnarly aftermath that by the end of the film, more blood than your average slasher has been spilt. The effects are impressive for a low budget feature as well.
VANish's strength is in its simplicity, however it also becomes its biggest distraction in the scenes where we find out what the real motivation everyone has for being there. Some of it seems very contrived or is such a 'coincidence' that its hard to fully buy in. That being said VANish certainly entertains and will appeal to fans that like their films to have full on scenes of bloody mayhem.
VANish is available NOW on VOD/DVD/Blu-Ray & iTunes.