Dan Bush’s The Vault is a heist movie that becomes something else. The film offers sufficient mystery, even if this does not last.
With an urgent debt to pay off, a man decides to rob a bank with a group of friends and family. The bank that is chosen does not have sufficient cash, so the team decide to break into the basement vault, on the advice of the assistant manager…
Directed and co-written by Dan Bush, The Vault combines a heist movie with a mystery. To say more than this would be too revealing. The film first generates mystery by providing a sense of ambiguity over who is involved in the heist. The set up works well to engage viewers, imbuing the film with more questions than facts initially. The mystery is further heightened by the main plot point; the uncertainty of what is in the basement.
Bush injects a number of promising ideas into the film. Nevertheless, The Vault is not always a satisfying watch. The air of suspense over who is involved in the robbery quickly evaporates when this is revealed prematurely. As the film progresses, the motives of the key players are revealed. However, as the situation gets increasingly dangerous, it is hard to muster the energy to care about their fates. This is because the characters are never given any real depth, neither is the situation which drives them to rob the bank. As a result, viewers may not be that invested in what happens to the main characters.
In the second half of the film especially, some of the decisions made by the characters are suspect. Nonetheless, horror aspects are played up rather well. The Vault is a low budget film, and is smart in depicting scenes requiring special effects. The use of CCTV footage works well to retain a sense of confusion and anxiety for the remaining robbers. Performances by Taryn Manning, Francesca Eastwood, and Scott Haze are suitable enough. James Franco’s role is minor, despite his high billing.
In blending a crime thriller with a mystery, The Vault shows fleeting signs of ingenuity. It is a shame that the execution does not quite meet this promise.
The Vault is in cinemas and on iTunes & digital HD from 8th September 2017.