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Review The Vault (2017): James Franco is in this? It's a trap!

genre: horror, thriller

When it comes to horror movies I don't have real high demands. I can be very forgiving as long as it manages to entertain me in some ways and I can tell the people making the film were sincere and had their heart in the right place. If not, the gloves come off. So is that the case here? I honestly have no idea.

The problem is that I can't tell what writer and director Dan Bush (The Signal) was going for. The horror and thriller elements were overshadowed by the poorly told heist film. Not once was the film thrilling or suspenseful. It wasn't super bad or anything but it was clear that the reason why the heist gone wrong was supposed to provide the thrills and surprises. But these surprises were already spoiled in the trailer and you could see them coming from a mile away. Then again a case can be made that the horror elements are just there to enhance the super secret mystery that pops up halfway through the movie. And I have to say that I was very willing to go along with it since it had real potential. Unfortunately this potential is wasted. Not only did the creepy mystery fail to grab my attention. It also did not give me the minimal horror goodness I expect like scares or gory spectacle.

Francesca Eastwood (daughter of Clint Eastwood) was adequate as the lead and she clearly tried hard to make everything believable. Taryn Manning was all over the place and I could not tell whether she was supposed to be unstable or just incredibly frustrated or angry. It doesn't really matter since naturally most people who watch this film will only have one question on their mind. What is James Franco doing in this? It's an even bigger mystery than the one we are asked to pay attention to. It's not like he does anything extraordinary or just is there to have a little fun like he often does. He plays it straight and the film demands you to take events seriously. At one point an idea popped up in my mind that could have changed the whole tone of the film and which probably would have redeemed it. Sadly this was wishful thinking on my part since they went another boring direction that did not even make sense. To make matters worse the film ends in a way most horror films do. Had they gone with what I came up,  a lot of events in the film would have made sense and would very easily fit the genre. If you really want to know what my idea is then ask me in the comment section. Sometimes I just wonder how it is possible that a lot of these films rich with such potential take the easy way out. Especially if it would not have stressed the budget. 

I don't know if this is a case of severe incompetence or the big studios meddling but at the end of the film all I felt cheated of my precious time. Don't fall for the James Franco trap. He is there to trick you into watching this generic film that fails to deliver on what most people would expect. I honestly gave it a chance but I kept waiting and waiting until the credits rolled. I didn't even feel like writing a proper review for this since it doesn't deserve to. Then again I realized that a lot of people would still do so because of big name Franco. So I felt compelled to warn you.


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