Horror Review: The Vanishing (1993)

After a young woman disappears suddenly, her boyfriend becomes obsessive in his search for her while the psychopathic kidnapper stalks and baits him.

Yes, I know, this is a thriller film not a Horror film but I don’t care.

I’m ashamed to say I only found out about this movie quite recently, I was on the hunt for a good psychological thriller to watch and was hoping to find something different that I hadn’t seen before, after a long search and combing through many online lists I discovered this film.

It’s not very often that this happens to me but I love it when I discover a film I haven’t seen or even heard anything about, I find it exciting because you never know what you may discover. You never know it could be a new favourite, one thing I do know for sure is that I can’t believe I let this film pass me by.

I have to say that I was absolutely gripped by this film, it had 100% of my attention. This is helped by some fantastic casting with Keifer Sutherland, Nancy Travis and Jeff Bridges all putting in some great performances, especially Jeff Bridges who I found mesmerising to watch.

What I didn’t know is that this was actually a remake of a Dutch film of the same name and is also based on a book (“The Golden Egg” by Tim Krabbé). I’m going to have to seek this film out as there are apparently differences between them and I’m intrigued to see what they are.

“The Vanishing” is the kind of film I loved growing up and continue to enjoy now. Personally I’d love to see a return of these kind of movies, just a great story with no open ending or views of a sequel/franchise.

If you want to see “The Vanishing” trailer then just click on the video below:

Miscellaneous facts about the film:

With a $20 million budget, the US remake cost over 10 times as much as The Vanishing (1988).

Stanley Kubrick thought The Vanishing (1988) was the most terrifying film he had seen, even more frightening than The Shining (1980). Kubrick called George Sluizer to discuss some of the editing.

Jeff Bridges uses a fake arm cast to lure women into his vehicle. Ted Bundy used the same method in real life.

Aeryk Egan, who plays the young Barney, also played a young Nelson, Kiefer Sutherland’s character in the movie Flatliners (1990).

In an opinion piece for Dutch magazine De FILMkrant in 1999, director George Sluizer said that he’d initially signed a contractual agreement with 20th Century Fox producer Joe Roth to keep the original ending. When Roth left for Disney during production, the contract was canceled. Negative audience previews during editing led to more changes because viewers had trouble understanding the flashback structure.

The cabin by the lake scenes were filmed at Camp Omache, a Boy Scout summer camp near Monroe, WA.

Sandra Bullock and Susan Barnes were both in Speed (1994) and its sequel Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997). Bullock and Barnes shared no scenes in either this film or Speed however they did briefly in Speed 2. Susan Barnes character in The Vanishing worked as Jeff Bridges colleague (who noticed the poster). In Speed, Barnes was the last one saved from the elevator before it dropped in the beginning of the movie. In Speed 2, Bullock and Barnes were seated at the same table on the first night of the cruise.

Kiefer Sutherland and Sandra Bullock would work together again in A Time to Kill (1996) two years later.

When George Sluizer was told he could direct an American version of the book “Het Gouden Ei” (which had already been made in the Netherlands as The Vanishing (1988)), he was told that it would only happen if the ending was changed because American audiences wouldn’t approve of the original.

The American remake was heavily criticized for its ending. The Dutch original had a similar ending scripted and shot, but it was never used.

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