Actually, you could do far worse than this stylish English indie horror movie, because those are four words you don’t often see clustered together in front of the word “movie”. The plot, about a working-class English family coming to terms with a missing child, is pretty predictable. But for such a predictable movie, it doesn’t seem to think it’s tricking you. It understands that you’ve figured it out. Despite its similarities, this is no Sixth Sense or The Others because of how it lays its cards on the table without having to announce them. And although the resolution is oh-so-pat, it has just enough lack of resolution to be memorable.
The great thing about The Disappeared — and this is a really great thing if you watch as many bad actors in bad horror movies as I do — is the lead actor, Harry Treadaway. If you saw last year’s Fish Tank, you’ll recognize him as Katie Jarvis’ boyfriend. He looks like a sullen hoodlum, with a bit of Toby Maguire’s nondescript good looks. But he’s incredibly expressive, intense, and sincere. I get a strong River Phoenix vibe watching him act. The Disappeared’s director knows he’s got something special in Treadaway’s performance, and he fixes it front and center throughout the movie. Come for the bad horror, but stay for the fantastic lead actor.
The Disappeared is available on DVD or Netflix’s Instant Watch.