Leah (Francesca Eastwood), her sister Vee (Taryn Manning), their brother Michael (Scott Haze…who we interviewed right here), and a small crew decide to rob a bank to acquire half a mil to help Michael out with some vague bullshit in his life (something about owing the wrong people money). Being a bunch of disorganized, in-fighting, bad luck cases, they only find 70 large in the vault…but the bank’s assistant manager Ed (James Franco) assures them their is an older vault hidden beneath the bank that contains a small fortune. Once down there, things take a decidedly supernatural turn as our anti-heroes are menaced by a preternatural figure that is out for revenge for a robbery that was botched decades earlier!
Ever since Rodriguez and Tarantino worked their magic back in ’96 with From Dusk Till Dawn, folks have been trying to mix and match their crime pictures with the horror biz to varying degrees of success. So how does The Vault fare? Pretty damn good actually…
To kick things off, the story of the sibling criminals driven to desperate acts to make up for previous desperate acts is a solid enough set-up, and Eastwood, Manning, and Haze all add a lot to their roles with strong performances that bring the varying personalities of the family to life vividly. On the other side of things, the supernatural elements of our terror tale are handled nicely as well, with a past mystery intruding into the present with ever growing menace, and characters having ties to the event is surprising in satisfying ways.
Adding to the positives are great supporting turns from Franco (yeah, don’t believe the box that features him front and center…the focus is not on his character for a large portion of the film), Q’orianka Kilcher as a sensitive bank teller in over head, and genre mainstay Clifton Collins Jr. as a detective that gets caught up in all of the ghoulish goings-on.
While Director/Co-Writer (along with Conal Byrne) Dan Bush (who we interviewed right here) scores points for the story mentioned above, and for bringing the proceedings a great visual flare (along with Cinematographer Andrew Shulkind), his editing (along with Ed Marx) doesn’t rate as high, with some janky choices muddying up the flow of some scenes (the fright elements in particular take a hit here). Also, while I had no problem with the pace of this one, some of you horror hounds may get antsy waiting for the gruesome goods to get underway as the Act 1 is all character building and crime biz.
As for extras on this Blu, you’re going to come up as short as our heroes in that initial vault as only the film’s trailer is offered.
If you are looking to mix your crime chocolate with your horror biz peanut butter I highly recommend slapping your eerie eyeballs on The Vault; it a solid fright flick with strong acting and visuals (minus that aforementioned editing) and it’ll doubtless tickle your preternatural pickle just fine!
For another take on The Vault from Horror Fuel, check out this review from Kelli Marchman McNeely!