Saturday, 27 April 2013

No.93 : The Disappeared

The Disappeared at the IMDb
Time for a nice uplifting British film now that deals with child abduction, murder and mental health. Oh and it’s set on a decaying council estate too - can’t forget that ray of sunshine!

We open as our hero Matthew is being discharged from a mental health facility. We learn that he suffered a breakdown when his 10 year old brother Tom went missing. No trace of the lad was ever found and this has placed a strain on Matthew’s relationship with his Dad. He moves back into the squalid council flat occupied by his Pop and hooks up with his friend Simon who is having time off from being Draco in the Harry Potter films. Simon is a tough guy who smokes and swears so watch out wizard lovers!

Matthew looks over old videotapes concerning his brother’s disappearance and hears the lad’s voice on one of the tapes. No one else can however and his ‘find’ is dismissed as a by product of his medication. Simon, who has clearly seen ‘White Noise’, tells him about dead people appearing on tapes and Matthew tries his hand at capturing the spirit world. Alas it’s more ‘Shite Noise’ than ‘White Noise’ as the local toughs smash up his cassette player.

Not to be put off Matthew also confides in Amy, a wet kind of girl who offers encouragement but little else. He also speaks to a local medium and to a vicar about his thoughts regarding Tom’s disappearance. There is also a worrying trend of people at windows and symbols appearing in slightly iffy CGI. We soon learn that the medium was actually a ‘well done’ as she died in a fire years before. Is Matthew nuts or are the lost sprits trying to lead him to a place where both they and he will find closure?

Other clues such as his brother’s watch showing up in his father’s effects add to the mystery and sense of unease and although hands seem to be reaching out to grab Matthew at every turn, a change in camera angle shows us there is nothing there. As we head to an underground lair can the spirits be put to rest and can Matthew escape the netherworld between reality and fantasy?

This was a decent horror/thriller done on a low budget but it wasn’t inventive or shocking enough to live long in the memory. The director did well to create and maintain a sense of unease throughout the film with simple lighting effects being enough to show that all was not well. The cast were all pretty good with Harry Treadaway doing well in an unsympathetic lead role. I can’t say I was ever rooting for Matthew but his balancing act between sane and insane was well realised.

There were a few surprises along the way such as the black suburban medium lifted straight out the ‘Matrix’ films. At times it wasn’t clear what was meant to be real or not but that was a no doubt deliberate attempt to unsettle the viewer. The conclusion was well handled but I can’t help think the bad guy would have been a little badder than he turned out to be - shallow grave indeed!

The final revelation wasn’t much of a surprise but certainly maintained the vibe of otherworldliness that had gone before. All in all this was a decent attempt at an urban ghost story but it lacked anything that would take it out of the ordinary.

THE Tag Line : This Town is Totally Dead!

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