Parents' Guide to

The Vanished

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Annoying characters sink violent missing-child thriller.

Movie R 2020 115 minutes
The Vanished Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 18+


This is not for kids. Although its fine for emotially mature teens, it really doesnt have much that is "offensive". One guy smoking crack/meth or whatever.. it never says he is just smoking a drug could be pot for all someone naive knows. So many people slam this movie but i think they are missing the point. Its really a portrait of a couple who is experiencing the worst thing parents can go through. I figured the twist out pretty early although most reviews people said they didnt see it coming. (Most famous movie twist i figured out long before so dont think its obvious. It isnt) so i processed the movie with that in mind. But they did a great job giving bread crumbs all while making you second guess everything. There are a couple of holes in the story that bug me. One is sloppy police work but that is something that does happen in real life...sorry but everyone is human and back water police agencies can and do over look stuff we would think is standard proceedure...well actually both holes that drive me nuts goes back to the police. Why didnt they question the big red flag that i couldnt get past?? But other than that i thought this was a great study in what happens to people and relationships when faved with dealing with the worst and most painful thing that can happen? It is thought provoking! Definently a good watch if you like trying to follow the clues and figure out who-donr -it!
age 18+


Terrible ending, no resolution, audience left wondering WTF happened.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (2 ):

This thriller is built entirely around a twist ending, but the scenes leading up to it aren't intriguing or suspenseful; rather, they're aggravating and nonsensical, and the ending feels unearned. The movie's original title was Hour of Lead, taken from Emily Dickinson's poem "After great pain, a formal feeling comes." It was a less generic title than The Vanished, but not quite fitting due to the fact that the behavior of the distraught parents is more along the lines of "idiotic" and "irresponsible." It's understandable that a parent would want to do everything they could to help their kids, but Paul and Wendy's choices are just flat-out dumb, and they usually result in either embarrassment or violence.

Writer-director Peter Facinelli, who also appears in the movie as the sheriff's deputy, includes many red herrings, which in retrospect become nothing more than wild coincidences. There are also some typical jump scares (that darn cat!) and a long, distracting nightmare sequence. The ending is meant to abruptly return sympathy to poor Paul and Wendy, but by the time it happens, our forgiveness is too far gone. If only The Vanished had found a way to build sympathy -- and suspense -- all along, its whopper of a finale might have made for a very entertaining movie indeed.

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