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THE VANISHING

Spoorloos

George Sluizer | 1988 | 107 MINS
Netherlands | Subtitles
Rex and Saskia, a young couple in love, are on vacation. They stop at a busy service station and Saskia is abducted. After three years and no sign of Saskia, Rex begins receiving letters from the abductor.

In Detail

This disturbing 1988 Dutch thriller is hard to talk about without giving too much away and uncovering a dreaded spoiler. It revolves around the simple premise of a young Dutch couple who go on holiday in France, only for the woman to mysteriously disappear. Cut to three years later and the woman’s disappearance remains unexplained, and the man is still trying desperately to find out what happened to her. He (and we the audience) duly find out over the course of this riveting and disturbing thriller.

“Practically from the beginning of the film, we know more than the husband does, and yet the more we know, the more we wonder and fear. Everything leads up to a climax that is as horrifying as it is probably inevitable. Is this a thriller or a horror film? Although I am very fond of the latter genre, its films rarely scare me, but when I saw this originally in 1988, it was one of the most frightening, disturbing and creepy movies I had ever seen. There was quite a controversy about it being given only a 12 certificate, but the BBFC defended their decision not to have given it an 18 as there were no “graphic” images. More recently it has been upgraded to a 15 for video. Please do avoid the American remake with Jeff Bridges: a pale shadow of the original.” - RG

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