Estranged sisters Leah (Francesca Eastwood) and Vee (Taryn Manning) are forced to put aside their simmering resentment when brother Michael (Scott Haze) screws up and finds himself owing a lot of money to some very bad guys. Taking the employees and customers of a bank hostage, the sisters and their gang are after enough money to clear the luckless Michael’s debts.

But when the gang find far less money than they were expecting and the police, alerted by a mysterious radio warning from inside the bank, surround the building, tensions rise, the robbers bickering amongst themselves. As the heist threatens to spiral into violence, desperate assistant manager Ed (James Franco) strikes a deal with Leah.

In exchange for Leah’s promise that none of the hostages will be harmed, Ed reveals that there’s another vault on the premises, a vault containing millions, a vault down in the basement where no one goes. Where evil waits…

A horror/heist movie that mashes up Dog Day Afternoon and The Ghost Of Flight 401 (watch it, you’ll see what I mean…), The Vault is a serviceable, generic piece of twaddle that really should be more fun than it is. Co-written with Conal Byrne by director Dan Bush, the film’s set-up is effective enough as the robbers execute their plan, taking over the bank and subduing their hostages, the arrival of the police and the escalating bickering within the gang ratcheting up the tension. But it’s lurch towards the supernatural is just that – a lurch, The Vault shedding it’s pressure cooker momentum as the gang try to break into the bank’s vault, releasing the vengeful spirits that lurk there inspiring déjà vu rather than terror as the gang bumble around in generically dark corridors, where no one ever thinks to turn on a light, being picked off one by one by the victims of a previous heist gone wrong.

The cast are solid enough, Haze’s loser brother definitely the most sympathetic of the criminal siblings while Manning’s twitchy, meth-head loose cannon is predictably unpredictable, her resentment for Eastwood’s coolly professional leader threatening to doom them all. As the bank teller with a secret, Franco (test-driving the stunt ‘tache he’ll sport in The Deuce) is nicely understated, a decent guy just trying to do the decent thing (maybe…) and ensure everyone, even the robbers, come out of the ordeal alive and the scenes between him and the charismatic Eastwood, who’s inherited much of her father’s steel, hint at the heist thriller The Vault could have been before being invaded by a bunch of bag-headed ghosts with an interest in amateur trepanning.

Muddled and neither as fun nor as clever as it’s premise demands, The Vault is a watchable hokum you practically forget as you’re watching it.

 

Movie Review: The Vault
3.0Overall Score
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