Film Review: The Vanished

STUDIO: Saban Films | DIRECTOR: Peter Facinelli | CAST:Thomas Jane, Anne Heche, Jason Patric, Peter Facinelli, John D. Hickman
RELEASE DATE: Aug. 21, 2020
SPECS: R | 115 min. | Thriller 2.39:1 widescreen

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie

A creepy thriller that scores thanks to fine acting, solid direction and an undercurrent of imminent doom, The Vanished is not your typical “track-down-the-lost-child” Taken-like suspense yarn.

Thomas Jane and Ann Heche in The Vanished.

Thomas Jane (Into the Grizzly Maze) and Ann Heche (Catfight) are a married couple with a young daughter (Kk Heim and Sadie Heim, Doctor Sleep) and a dog who take their RV to spend a peaceful Thanksgiving holiday near a scenic lake in a desolate part of Alabama. Shortly after they arrive, the daughter disappears, sending the couple into an emotional frenzy. Joining the frantic couple in their  search for their daughter is local sheriff Jason Patric (The Losers). But when another vacationing couple nearby vanishes, the lawman and his associates are baffled by the series of events.

The second film directed by Twilight actor Peter Facinelli (who also wrote it) is a slow-burn enterprise that builds suspense from the get-go with its oppressive atmosphere and eventually gets knee-deep into the psychology of grief in thought-provoking and unsettling ways. Every time the film heads toward standard-issue, straight-to-streaming fare material, Facinelli pilots away and pulls out a genuine surprise to keep audiences on their feet and at the edge of their sofas.

The Vanished is also helped by its fine cast, including real-life couple Jane and Heche as the anguished parents and Patric, with scruffy beard and extra girth, as the conscientious but perplexed veteran lawman. Ratcheting up the creep factor here are John D. Hickman (The Informer) as the dodgy proprietor of the property where the mystery takes place and Alex Hardon (The Art of Self-Defense) as a frazzled worker who lives on the property.

The Vanished can be seen in select Theaters, on digital and on demand.

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.