The Vanished

Greetings & Salutations Everyone …

On behalf of the staff and everyone at ‘Skewed & Reviewed’, I hope you all continue to be well and safe during this unprecedented time in the world.

One of the few things i’ve learned over the last 42 years … the most shocking and intense surprises or revelations always seem to appear from where you least expect them too. That goes without saying obviously. Even when the story plays out though the key to the ‘surprise’ always seems to be in the delivery. You could have the ending already figured out .. it’s all in the delivery and if it’s exceptionally written, it’s still going to leave you saying “WHOA”. That’s part of what makes today’s film absolutely worth it. The writing and directing of the film is so well done that even if you do figure out the ‘catch’, the time between the viewer’s potential revelation and the coup de grâce is so small that the viewer is left sitting there mind-blown. Of course, the added benefit of an exceptional cast whose performances seem genuine to the situation only bring the suspense to a whole other level is the icing on the cake.

‘The Vanished’ (Hour of Lead) is a mystery/thriller film from Saban Films written and directed by actor/filmmaker Peter Facinelli. The film stars Anne Heche, Thomas Jane, Jason Patrick, Kk Heim, Sadie Heim, Kristopher Wente, Aleksei Archer, Mitchell L. Johnson, Alex Haydon, John D. Hickman, Rebecca Lines, Lily Anne Harrison, Lucas Bentley, and Curtis Nichouls.

The film begins innocently enough. Paul (Jane) a decorated war veteran and family man, along his wife Wendy (Heche) and daughter Taylor (Kk Heim/Sadie Heim) are well on their way to a vacation camping trip far away from the crowds and the hustle/bustle of the city. Once they arrive, they go about getting settled in for an innocent family vacation despite reports of a possible escaped convict in the vicinity of their lakeshore camping site. After a few short minutes though it’s obvious the vacation is over as Taylor vanishes without so much as a trace. Sheriff Baker (Patrick) and his department are immediately called in and the search for Taylor begins. Oddly, he hesitates to call in the FBI or other authorities to assist in the search despite the fact that the area Taylor disappeared in is a large wilderness area miles from the nearest town or city along with the previously mentioned news of the escaped convict. Unsatisfied with the Sheriff’s request that they stay at their campsite and listen for news over the radio, Paul and Wendy sneak past the police perimeter near the lake and set off to look for their daughter. Just a short distance from the search party’s area, Paul and Wendy happen upon an armed intruder sleeping in the darkness. The actions and revelations that follow only aggravate the situation as Paul and Wendy’s efforts to find their daughter become something entirely different. Their endeavor to reclaim the life of their daughter only serve to eviscerate the lives of others both innocent and guilty. They continue on though. What parent wouldn’t? Nothing is more important to any family than the lives of their children. Whatever the cost. In this case though the cost will be unbearable. Only not to the parents.

This one is going to tough to rate. I would wholeheartedly recommend it. It has everything you’re looking for in a suspense/mystery film. This is apparently the director’s second time out behind the lens and Peter Facinelli did an exceptional job. You had a great script and amazing cast comprised of veteran actors/actresses combined with new faces. The only issue was the film’s length. It was tricky. 95 minutes. Now I do agree with and see why the film has the duration it did but at the same time, it also came dangerously close to being ‘too much’. To execute the story and give the actors the breathing room they needed to make their performances realistic and believable there needed to almost be a sense of ‘real time’. The downside is that takes up time. I’m going to go out there and give ‘The Vanished’ 4 out of 5 stars. Most definitely not a film for the kids. It’s supposed to have a limited release on August 21st in some theaters. My advice? If it’s safe and there’s good social distancing, go ahead and catch it in the theater. There would be NO issue though renting or buying it online at home though.