The Vanishing (1993 film)

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The Vanishing
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGeorge Sluizer
Produced byLarry Brezner
Pieter Jan Brugge
Screenplay byTodd Graff
Based onHet Gouden Ei
by Tim Krabbé
Music byJerry Goldsmith
CinematographyPeter Suschitzky
Edited byBruce Green
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • February 5, 1993 (1993-02-05)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$23 million
Box office$14,543,394[1]

The Vanishing is a 1993 American psychological thriller film directed by George Sluizer and starring Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, Nancy Travis, and Sandra Bullock. It is a remake of Sluizer's 1988 French-Dutch film of the same name.


Jeff Harriman (Kiefer Sutherland) goes on vacation with his girlfriend Diane Shaver (Sandra Bullock), who vanishes without a trace at a gas station. Three years later, Jeff, who is attempting to write a novel and joins the military, is still obsessed with finding out what happened. He meets a woman named Rita (Nancy Travis) who cracks a code using several letters of Diane's name, accessing Jeff's rough draft of a children's book. Jeff finally tells the truth about how Diane disappeared, develops a relationship with Rita, and burns the missing posters of Diane.

Rita records an answering machine at their home, indicating that she has broken up with Jeff, while Cousins secretly watches. When Jeff returns, he changes the message without Rita knowing. Barney Cousins (Jeff Bridges), a chemistry teacher who kidnaps victims by calming them with chloroform, arrives at Jeff's door and admits that he was responsible for Diane's disappearance. Cousins promises to show Jeff what happened to Diane, but only if he agrees to go through exactly the same thing she did. Cousins explains about his past: he broke his arm after jumping off a roof when he was a child, and when he became a husband and father years later, he saved a little girl from drowning.

In a short series of flash-backs, the build-up to the crime is shown: when Diane was purchasing drinks for herself and Jeff, Cousins, who faked his arm injury, invited her to check out his work from France in his car and kidnapped her, calming her with chloroform. Then Jeff is taken to the gas station where his lover went missing, and is told that if he drinks a cup of coffee which has been drugged, he will discover her fate by experiencing it. He does, and wakes up to find he has been buried alive in a coffin.

Rita traces Jeff and Cousins to the area, and discovers just in time what has happened. She gets Cousins to drink drugged coffee by talking about his daughter Denise, but does not realize the drug takes 15 minutes to take effect. She goes in search of Jeff, but is thwarted at the last minute by Cousins. Jeff climbs out of the grave, kills Cousins with the shovel, and finally accepts Diane's death. Jeff and Rita reunite selling the story as a novel to a publishing company.



Principal photography began on April 6, 1992. Filming took place in and around Washington State, including Seattle, Washington where most of the film takes place. Locations in town includes the Seattle Yacht Club, the Pioneer Square Station, the Sur La Table at the Pike Place Market & the Aloha Street Apartments. The cabin by the lake at the beginning and for the final climax sequences at the end were filmed at Camp Omache near Monroe, Washington. The setting for the gas station where Diane goes missing and Jeff waits by the car, & where Jeff and Barney talk about Diane's fate was filmed at the Mountainside Shell Station at North Bend, Washington. The scene where Barney takes his family to the falls was filmed at Snoqualmie Falls at Snoqualmie, Washington. The second unit then went to Mount St. Helens to film the areas where Jeff and Diane go on their road trip. When filming was completed in Washington, the crew travel to Cody, Wyoming to film the sequence of Jeff's car breaks down in the tunnel. They filmed it at the Cody Tunnel. Finally they went to Los Angeles, California to do the scene where Rita is at the pool hall & where Jeff first meets Rita at the restaurant. Filming wrapped on June 21, 1992.


The Vanishing was released in theatres on February 5, 1993 in 1,656 theatres. For its opening weekend, it landed at #4 at the box office grossing $5.0 million. It gross $6.2 million in its first week. For the second weekend, it dropped to #7 grossing $3.5 million. Finally in its third weekend, it dropped out of the top ten charts to #14 grossing $1.4 million. After three weeks in theatres, the film eventually made $12.3 million, giving a total of $14.5 million. It was considered to be a box office bomb & it failed to bring back its $23 million budget.


This remake was poorly received and almost universally seen as inferior to the original, with particular criticism for its new happy ending.[2] Variety called it "schematic and unconvincing",[3] while Time Out's Nigel Floyd called it "a misjudged, lobotomized Hollywood remake."[4] Mark Kermode would later summarize that "the original was about the banality of evil, but the remake became about the evil of banality. It was a mess."[5] Salon named the film as the worst remake of all time.[6] The film currently holds a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 36 reviews, with an average rating of 4.9/10.[2] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100 based on 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Vanishing (1993)". Box Office Mojo. 1993-03-09. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
  2. ^ a b "The Vanishing (1993)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandangp. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  3. ^ "The Vanishing" (review) Variety January 1, 1992
  4. ^ "The Vanishing Review. Movie Reviews - Film - Time Out London". Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
  5. ^ Mark Kermode. "Mark Kermode's film blog: Let Me In, or Let the Right One In?". BBC. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
  6. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller. "The Worst Remakes Of All Time - Friday Night Seitz". Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  7. ^ "The Vanishing (1993) Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  8. ^ "CinemaScore".

External links[edit]