An estranged family tackling a bank heist in order to save a sibling is quite a recipe for interesting discourses movie of Dog Day Afternoon. Still, unfortunately, The Vault is not that kind of movie.
Dan Bush has taken on multitasks as co-directing, co-writing and co-editing for the extraordinarily effective thriller/horror The Signal, then the overlooked yet well-constructed FightFuckPray. Unfortunately, again, his talent has not bled over into his latest outing. While striving to be a gripping heist film garnished with horror elements, Bush and his crew lose their way ending up with a generic mess of one-note characters and tarnished loose-end plots.
Alienated siblings Vee (Taryn Manning), Leah (Francesca Eastwood) and Michael Dillon (Scott Haze) have teamed up together to rob a bank with a neo-nazi skinhead Cyrus (Keith Loneker) and a safe-cracker Kramer (Michael Milford) in order to save Michael’s life from a local criminal outfit. The bank they take soon becomes more than they can bargain for as they taking hostages as collateral. Police close in from outside, and something unknown starts taking them apart from within. The robbers learn the bloody history of previous bank robbery at the site. That actually would make a far more engrossing movie. The situation becomes direr as the question of what is real keep coming up.
The overly-generic setup of The Vault movie could have been forgiven if that remained consistent. However, things are not happening that way. The first act sets up a stock-standard heist flick with predictable stereotypes, then, as the movie goes, it is injected elements reminiscent of Silent Hill and Hellraiser, and become an ominous basement level full of flickering lights and whispering phantoms. The execution is almost laughably tepid and self-restrained. Flashbacks of the previous heist used as the catalyst for the preternatural behavior actually possess more formidably convincing life to them that begs to be explored further.
Manning, Eastwood and Haze are easily the best of the cast, but this doesn’t actually help the movie. Their performances are so scatterbrained that it is difficult to judge what the filmmakers wanted them to emote. Character traits are shifted as each plot point demands with many actions in the latter parts of The Vault movie upsetting most of any established continuity.
Contemplative sections barrel through characterization while easily predictable build-ups to jump scares heave on well past what they end up being worth. This confounded pile of movie is composed through choppy and disjointed editing by Bush and Ed Marx making focus increasingly difficult as the movie drags out its runtime. Though, the cinematography by Andrew Shulkind is fair and balanced, it never takes risks to immerse the audience in this world subsequently neuters most of the scares.
The Vault movie is ultimately forgettable and is neither good nor bad enough to warrant repeat viewings. This work is a resounding misfire that ultimately falls flat and concludes more lifeless than its unenthused ghost story, even with some seriously talented individuals involve.