Monday, June 15, 2015

The Vanishing (1988)

I’m pretty sure this is the most chilling film that I have ever seen. I’ve seen all sorts of screwed up movies about good and bad people doing awful things, but none of them have left me feeling as creeped out and helpless as this film. And while many chalk this up to the haunting end (which is apparently undone in the English language remake) I give all credit to a very deft and delicate implementation of score. Rather than sticking unrelentingly to dour, suspenseful and serious music throughout, director George Sluizer and composer Henny Vrienten brilliantly chose to underscore some scenes with music that is downright jaunty and silly. Not only does this create an interesting contrast that breaks up what might have been a one-note (pun intended) slog, but it also helps to enhance the banality of evil at play here. A sociopath does not view their actions as evil. What they are doing is merely the simplest and most direct way to get what they want. And so, the music which underscores the scenes of our villain in his home life, is the type of score you might expect from a pleasant film about a family man. And this is absolutely maddening.

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