Dan Bush’s supernatural thriller, The Vault, really is an amalgamation of haunting classics offering little that’s new in terms of spooks and chills (think The Town meets The Grudge meets The Sixth Sense meets The Purge); however, there are some snippets of ingenuity.
Family loyalty is the underlying thread in this haunted bank heist movie, with career criminal sisters Leah (Francesca Eastwood) and Vee Dillon (Taryn Manning) uniting to pull off a robbery for the benefit of their brother Michael (Scott Haze) who owes money and has begrudgingly come along to assist.
The opening scenes are violent and brutal and the tension is palpable as the group of robbers grow irate on discovering the upstairs vault doesn’t have enough money to cover Michael’s debt. On the advice of Assistant Bank Manager Ed Maas (James Franco), they drill into the downstairs vault but the bank’s basement holds a formidable presence and, before long, the Dillons have to choose whether to face the police outside or the terrible supernatural forces below them.
While the plotline heralds many of the genre’s standout movies, and those less so (the basement corridor scenes strikingly reminiscent of Grave Encounters), noteworthy characteristics here include the complexity and detail of the love, loathing and resentment that the siblings have for each other. The audience certainly warm to the gang leaders and this resonates right to the closing credits.
Leading Hollywood actor James Franco takes a backseat role here and it’s to both his and the film’s merit. Eastwood and Manning both hold a strong and foreboding leading presence; in contrast Franco appears weary and weathered, we don’t particularly warm to him and his presence is peculiar.
More incredulous moments shatter any feasability the plot may have had – one young bank teller recalls a story from within the building that occurred over 30 years previously with sheer unfounded veracity and conviction.
There are occasions where the acting, particularly from supporting roles, is shabby, the script a little dull and the staging temporarily shambolic, with classic regurgitated hallmarks (that porcelain mask looks familiar!), however, that’s not to say this isn’t an enjoyable ride.
The vigour from Eastwood and Manning is rather captivating as their characters fizz and bounce off each other all under the watchful eye of their brother, the hostages and Maas. For those who enjoy action-packed supernatural thrillers filled with tension, eeriness and horrifying aesthetics this one ticks the boxes. And for those expecting just a little more out of the age-old genre, The Vault will also make them think about familial relations and obligations.
The Vault is released nationwide on 8th September 2017.
Watch the trailer for The Vault here: