02/17/2011 09:01 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

HuffPost Review: Vanishing on 7th Street

It isn't long before you figure out that there aren't any larger ideas at work in Vanishing on 7th Street than the ones that are on the surface.

So this attempt at a horror film becomes a literal battle between the forces of darkness and light. Specifically: Whenever it gets dark, the shadows close in on living human beings and -- what? -- turn them to vapor? Make them disappear? Whatever -- they simply cease to be.

But, for some reason, the group of people who somehow survive an apocalyptic event in Detroit (and beyond for that matter, but who knows?) have avoided he fate of being consumed alive by shadows. Except now when it gets dark, the shadows come looking for them.

Which turns this into an extended scavenger hunt for portable sources of light: flashlights, candles, gas generators, road flares and so forth. Have one go out at your own peril.

Beyond that, there's not a lot for stars Hayden Christensen, John Leguizamo and Thandie Newton to do. They talk about their fears and their pain and how to keep the rickety gas generator going so they have electric lights at night (including, for some reason, a jukebox that nobody thinks might be a drain on the system).

Director Brad Anderson is an interesting filmmaker whose resume includes Next Stop Wnderland and The Machinist. But this effort at a horror film - one in which you literally have to be afraid of the dark - never spins out enough other tendrils of story to make these characters worth caring about.

And those shadows just don't cut it. Vanishing from existence seems preferable to sitting through Vanishing on 7th Street.

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