Ready for Reservoir Dogs meets Buried? That’s what first-time writer-director Bryan Bockbrader is going for with his feature debut, VANish. As the title suggests, the film involves a van, but not just a couple of shots of the vehicle or scenes of the main players riding around in it, but rather, a narrative that takes place entirely inside that van.
Maiara Walsh’s (The Starving Games, Switched at Birth) character is kidnapped and then forced to embark on a bloody, murder-filled road trip with her captor. Been there, done that, right? Well, not exactly. What makes VANish a standout is that the viewer will experience the entire story from inside this vehicle as though he or she is in the midst of the action as a passenger.
There are a few confinement-type movies floating around out there, but there’s still loads of unexplored territory within the setup. Buried is really the only noteworthy film that truly adheres to imprisoning a character from beginning to end, and does so quite well, but there are also films like 127 Hours, which also involved a trapped protagonist, but with extra context via establishing scenes and dream sequences. Even though Buried pulls it off exceptionally well, there’s no denying that the added breathing room makes 127 Hours a more approachable experience.
And VANish will have a similar luxury due to the fact it can stick with a single location while also having access to exteriors via van windows - as seen in the following still of Tony Todd (Candyman).
The key here will be doing exactly what Bockbrader set out to do in the first place, and that’s to make the audience feel as though they’re confined in the van right alongside Walsh. In a press release, Bockbrader further explained, “As the tension builds, we are trapped in this intimate place with extremely dangerous people and when the sh*t hits the fan (or van) there's no escaping the chaos.”
It looks as though bad things really will hit the fan - because the interior of that van is absolutely covered in blood in another image featuring Danny Trejo (at the top of the page) and it looks pretty grimy in a second of Walsh, too (seen below). They’re striking images, but also bring up another single location challenge – keeping the visuals interesting. These stills have Walsh and Trejo doing the exact same thing in the exact same position. It doesn’t mean this will be an issue for Bockbrader, but it will be interesting to see if his final shot selection delivers dynamic visuals in that one location all the way through.
VANish has wrapped production - so hopefully we’ll get to see what Bockbrader and his team have to offer soon.
Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.