The Vault appeared out of nowhere. This Dan Bush production surreptitiously snuck up on moviegoers, luring them with a retro-styled poster, promising an equally retro-looking James Franco alongside two menacing ladies (Taryn Manning and Francesca Eastwood). The heist-horror combo has genuine artistic potential, but unfortunately The Vault manages to fall completely flat. It seems that Bush got so excited about the subversive idea of genre crossover that he failed to actually create a coherent film.
The catalysing robbery has all the superficial pomp and circumstance of every other heist film known to man. Neither Manning nor Eastwood have the opportunity to explore any acting range as their characters are reduced to mere cardboard cutouts of angry robbers; any further attempt at character development is never finalised. Franco’s purposefully low-key portrayal of the junior bank manager sparks slight interest at the outset, but is not enough to rescue this film from oblivion. The highly anticipated horror twist is particularly disappointing, in that it merely regurgitates the age-old haunted-house trope with all the guts and gore allowed in a 15-rated flick.
Most frustratingly, glimpses of Bush’s directorial prowess are glimpsed throughout, particularly during the bathroom scene with Scott Haze and Q’orianka Kilcher. Sadly, these moments are irrevocably tarnished by the mediocrity of the overall production.
The Vault is more similar to a directorial exercise than a movie, as Bush blatantly rips off the elements of the bank takeover from Spike Lee’s Inside Man and also manages a carbon copy of one of the best film twists of all time.
Ultimately, the film is not frightening enough to keep you up at night, nor ingenious enough to make you wonder about the twist – and not even bad enough to make it good.
CAST: James Franco, Taryn Manning, Francesca Eastwood, Scott Haze, Q’orianka Kilcher
DIRECTOR: Dan Bush
WRITERS: Dan Bush, Conal Byrne
SYNOPSIS: After attempting to pull a heist at a neighbourhood bank, a team of robbers find out the hard way what evils lurk in the secret underground vault.