The Vault is director Dan Bush’s surprisingly successful and suspenseful supernatural thriller/horror heist mash-up.
Sister Actby Alexa Dalby
CAUTION: Here be spoilers
The Vault is a strange but successful mixture, a heist thriller-turned-horror movie. What should have been a simple bank job – just take the money and run – goes disastrously wrong. Unusually, it’s mistress-minded by two sisters, Vee (Taryn Manning, Orange is the New Black) and Leah (Francesca Eastwood, daughter of Clint and Frances Fisher, Outlaws and Angels), helped by their brother Michael (Scott Haze) and a couple of hired hands. The opening sequence of their dog-day afternoon raid is stylishly shot by director Dan Bush and cinematographer Andrew Shulkind as frantic, fast-moving, violent confusion. But it ends in anticlimax when they find there’s not enough in the safe to make it worth their while. That’s until one of the bank staff they’ve taken hostage (James Franco with a meaningful moustache) – who are all now cowering on the floor with bags on their heads – volunteers to help them by giving them the keys to where the big money is kept in return for their safe release. And of course it’s in the vault.
If someone in a horror film warns, as chief teller Susan (Q’orianka Kilcher) does, “Don’t go down there”, it would be wise to take their advice, but of course no one ever does. As the robbers discover one by one, there’s something supernatural going on down in the old, disused (for a reason) vault. But this is the point at which this reviewer really doesn’t go there because it would spoil the fun. Meanwhile outside the bank, the police, led by Detective Iger (Clifton Collins Jr), gather to defuse the tense hostage situation growing more urgent inside.
The Vault is well acted, visceral and suspenseful. Horror buffs may possibly recognise some genre tropes: I wish I’d paid more attention to the opening titles and I’ll never feel the same about Tommy James and the Shondelles’ ‘Crimson and Clover’ again. Non-buffs will be intrigued and surprised by the pyrotechnics of its roller-coaster ride, though it’s very low budget and perhaps the horror works less well than the thriller. Then just when you think it’s all over and it’s safe again, there are a couple of gratuitous twists in the tail thrown in. All told, it’s enjoyable entertainment – if you’re hard enough.
The Vault is released in cinemas and on iTunes and digital HD on 8 September 2017 in the UK. #TheVaultMovie