Review: The Disappeared


Director:Johnny Kevorkian

Cast:Harry Treadaway, Greg Wise, Tom Felton, Alex Jennings

Running Time:95.00


One fateful night, amid the stars and a nearly deserted swing set, Matthew Ryan looked away and his brother Tom was abducted. Years later, Matthew still feels the burden of his actions, time having no effect on his feelings of pain and loss. In an attempt to live a more normal life, Matthew has opted to return home with his father in London, but the move back doesn't go as smoothly as either Ryan had hoped. With Tom's voice constantly playing in his head, Matthew will embark on a chilling journey to discover exactly what happened to his brother so many years ago.

At first glance, The Disappeared sounds like nothing more than your typical run-of-the-mill characterization drama. However, not ten minutes in, we are greeted with a harrowing tale of guilt, acceptance, and hellish nightmares. Without question, the journey is a frightening one. But instead of relying on jump scenes and loud noises, director Johnny Kevorkian uses dark lighting and an intense story, both of which help make the film unique and inexcusably entertaining.

Starring Harry Treadaway as our lead protagonist Matthew, we, as audience members, get to see a man strive for a sense of understanding and ultimate closure. The internal struggles overwhelm the young boy, sending him into a state of confusion and mass depression. His friends, (or should I say, the two of them), are trying to offer some help; however, Matthew has lived a very different life, one that they can't even begin to fully understand.

The performance, though a bit rough around the edges, is all-around good. Emotions are the key focus as Matthew proves to be a complex character to both sight and mind. Everyone around him is a potential suspect - the person responsible for his brother's disappearance and consequently his own troubled life. This renders every encounter one to doubt and question. As a result, Treadaway's performance had to be intense all the way through, a feat that was pulled off quite nicely.

Other than Treadaway, and easily the most recognizable face within the whole film is that of Tom Felton. The famed actor goes against stereotype to bring Matthew's friend, Simon, to life. Known around the world for his portrayal of Draco Malfoy in the popular Harry Potter series, Felton's career is sure to feature an uphill battle. Luckily, he is starting things off on the right foot as Simon is a new kind of character for the child actor. He smokes, drinks, and curses. He is rough, tough, and anything but a mamma's boy. But most of all, he is real. His emotions, concern for his friend, and eventual fate are played out without the slightest hiccup, making this the most memorable performance of his youthful career.

As a whole, I only had one major gripe with the feature: its lighting. Sure, dark moments are a part of every feature, and it did help set the tone for the events that were to come. But during two distinct segments, I recall being confused and irritated at the fact that I couldn't fully recognize what was occurring with the characters. The final scene, where everything is set to be unveiled, lost much of its luster for this very reason, putting a slight damper on the climatic finale that had been lead up to so well.

Contrasting this slight misstep is the shooting style and story, both of which are gritty and authentic. Never backing down from any type of situation, the film bears its soul to those watching on. Director Johnny Kevorkian captures everything beautifully through his lens, sending it onto the screen with force and precision. The overall effect is one that had me thinking long after the feature was complete, giving it that haunting edge that so many films desire.

Sadly, The Disappeared is not perfect - far from it, in fact. However, the collective components do come together with surprising accuracy, and that is something worth appreciating. The lighting was a bit off, at times becoming quite annoying; though that isn't enough reason to castrate the film. In the end, I was entertained. If you want to catch a unique horror/psycological thriller from the comfort of your own home, this tale is definitely one worth checking out.

*This title is available exclusively through IFC Video on Demand.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

Leave a Reply