Through some fiendish alchemy,THE VANISHING manages to scare people out of their wits more effectively than a legion of better-known horror films. This Dutch production has a pleasantly efficient veneer to it that hides a truly awesome undercurrent.
Two young Dutch lovers are motoring through France. They are flushed with optimism and affection for each other. While arguing playfully, Saskia Wagter (Johanna Ter Steege), the young woman, tells Rex Hofman (Gene Bervoets), the young man, her recurring dream. She is trapped in a golden egg in the
midst of darkness with no hope of escaping. Recently, she tells Rex, she has dreamt of another egg traveling beside her. When their car stalls in the middle of a dark tunnel, Saskia has an emotional explosion of claustrophobia and abandonment. Her lover cruelly neglects her, going off to get some
gas. Returning, the two make up quickly. They stop at a nearby gas station. Saskia goes to make a purchase in the store. Rex waits for her outside. She never comes back. Three years later Rex is still searching for Saskia. As Rex searches, the audience is introduced to Raymond Lemorne
(Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) who, through different time frames, slowly reveals Saskia's fate. It is only in the last few moments of the film that the mystery is fully revealed to us. And those moments are deeply horrific.
The choice of actors in this film is uncanny. Johanna Ter Steege's vanished Saskia is luminous in her opening scenes. Her presence continues to haunt the film after her disappearance. And Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu as Raymond Lemorne does a remarkable job. Lemorne is a sociopath and, unlike the
scores of other movie villains, Donnadieu's Lemorne's humanity is not a conceit. His beneficence makes his monstrousness even more hard to take. The director, George Sluizer, lets the whole film play out in a contemporary world of freeways, efficiency lighting and sports commentary spilling over
from the radio. Into this banal universe he plays out themes that haven't been so effectively conjured up since the early 60s. Sluizer himself directed a predictably inferior American remake released in 1993.
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- Released: 1988
- Rating: NR
- Review: Through some fiendish alchemy,THE VANISHING manages to scare people out of their wits more effectively than a legion of better-known horror films. This Dutch production has a pleasantly efficient veneer to it that hides a truly awesome undercurrent. Two y… (more)