The Vault is one of those little movies that you don't expect that much from. The only name in the film that you'd recognize is James Franco (One of the many male actors that whose presence is not an asset for a film right now). It's clearly low budget Canadian made movie with limited production value.
And in the end it's not a movie that anyone but me is going to be writing home about.
But The Vault harkens back to those early John Carpenter films, particularly Assault on Precinct 13(The original. Not that awful Ethan Hawke remake.) in the way that it makes its low budget a virtue by turning out lights and showing us less, by allowing our imaginations to do the heavy lifting. That's how the scariest movies used to actually be scary, rather than just trying to gross us out. As much as you might think you saw in The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby or the first Alien film, what you actually saw was fragments that caused your mind to create a much scarier whole.
The Vault does a lot with very little, and the whole is genuinely creepy, if not truly scary.
So, in that sense, as one of those little films that tend to get overlooked, when so many big budget big market films disappoint, I think that it is a film worthy of your hour and a half or so. It's on Netflix, so you don't have to pay any extra for it. It won't cost you an extra dime to check the Vault out and, when there's so much out there that you will end up watching and wasting your time on, why not give this little movie a chance? The acting is solid, particularly when you consider these are almost all actors you've never heard of, and there's even a pretty direct nod to Carpenter in the Halloween-esque way that the main antagonist is shown, right down to the film's ending. There's even one good gross out shot for those of you who like that kind of thing.
The writing is thin at points, but the pacing and shadows often make up for that. The premise isn't all that original, or even believable, but if you're willing to put that kind of thing aside long enough and to just accept that this wasn't supposed to be a very good film, you may actually be surprised at how good it actually turns out to be.
But good enough that fans of those first Carpenter films my actually find that they like it a lot.
It's easy to jump on the bandwagon for those films that everybody else knows about and loves.
But once in while, just once in a while, it's kind of nice to find one of those nothing little films that turn out to be better than they had any right to be.
That's what guys like John Carpenter used to do so well.
That's what directors like Ridley Scott have forgotten how to do.
So if you scrolling through Netflix and nothing is jumping out at you, maybe give The Vault a chance.
It's not quite as scary as James Franco's career has turned out to be.
But, unlike the actor, the film's creepiness is genuinely harmless fun.