Genre: Horror, Thriller
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Director: Dan Bush
Starring: James Franco, Taryn Manning, Francesca Eastwood
Two estranged sisters are forced to rob a bank in order to save their brother. But this is no ordinary bank.
I am wary about being cruel towards a film that tries. In a world of cynical cash-grabs and franchise reboot/remakes/regurgitations, it is nice to see an original film that really tries to engage its audience. Unfortunately for The Vault, despite all its efforts, it never really passes serviceable.
So, a bank heist goes wrong when it turns out – what are the odds? – the bank is haunted! The opening heist is done well, and I was on board for things to get spooky, until the paranormal antics actually began. We know there’s something fishy going on, the bank workers know, but the robbers don’t.
This is a perfect opportunity for slowly ratcheting tension – the tension of surviving both a haunting and a police stand-off. But alas, there never feels like any real stakes in the hostage situation or any real dread in the haunting situation.
Big reveals and supposed twists fall flat; the moment the robbers discover there’s something in the vault should elicit more of a response than “Huh? What’s going on here?”.
The reveal of what exactly is haunting the bank should inspire some sense of dread in the audience (spoiler alert: it does not).
Like I said, the film is mostly passable. The concept is fine, the acting is decent, but the editing is a problem. The quick and claustrophobic edits make it hard to comprehend the horror, let alone enjoy it.
There are multiple scenes where the camera is so tight on the actor’s face that it is impossible to tell where characters are in relation to one another. How are we meant to fear the ghouls if we have no idea what they are doing to their victims?
At a lean 91 minutes long there’s not to sat about The Vault, , it’s a bland passable film, that’s not a difficult viewing. But the film isn’t scary enough to attract the horror crowd, it isn’t tense enough to attract the crime thriller crowd, and it’s nowhere near as clever as it wants to be.