The Vault

The Vault (2001)
Full Moon Pictures
Cast: Michael Cory Davis, Shani Pride
Extras: Commentary Track, Director Profile, Trailers, Featurette, Bonus Film

This is going to be a short review, because ’The Vault’ is a short film. When stripped of the credits and padded scenes, the running time for ’The Vault’ is just a little over an hour. This brief film offers an original and promising storyline that, unfortunately, doesn’t really go anywhere. Mr. Burnett (Ted Lyde), a teacher, takes four students — Dezaray (Shani Pride), Willy (Austin Priester), Zipper (Kyle Walker), and Kyle (Michael Cory Davis) to visit an old high school, which is scheduled to be demolished. (The four kids fit the stereotypes of cheerleader, jock, nerd, and tough guy.) The school was originally a way-station for slaves and the group hopes to rescue some historical items (or something like that). Once they arrive at the school, they meet the eerie security guard Spangler (Leopoldo Papi), who warns them to not venture into the basement. You see, there’s a very old locked door in the basement, and behind that door is… ultimate evil. Well, of course, the door is opened and evil runs amok. Just as ’The Vault’ is beginning to explore its ideas, it ends. The source and nature of the evil force is interesting and original, but it’s very vague as to why he’d want to kill these particular people. Director James Black has given the film a nice look and there are some neat gore effects, but that’s really about it. The film’s brevity, coupled with its uninspired characters keep it from being anything special.

’The Vault’ is the latest ’Lunar Editon DVD’ from Full Moon Pictures, which (in this case) means that the special features last longer than the movie! ’The Vault’ has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and is not enhanced for 16×9 TVs. The image is sharp and clear, showing only a minute amount of grain during the daylight scenes. There are no overt defects from the source print. The colors are natural and true, with the darker scenes being nicely balanced. The audio on the DVD is a 2-channel surround mix, which brings us clear and audible dialogue, coupled with nice usage of the surround speakers for musical cues and ambient sound effects.

The long list of special features begins with an audio commentary, featuring director James Black and producer J.R. Bookwalter. These two are old friends (having worked together many times), so the discussion is very informal, but also very informative. They are very familiar with the small cast & crew and anecdotes abound. Next, we have a 25-minute featurette entitled ’The Making of ’The Vault’’. This is your standard-fare featurette, with lots of clips from the film coupled with interviews with the cast & crew. Next up is ’Into the Black: Reflections of a Decade’, which is a profile of director/actor James Black. This features clips from his numerous (such as ’Zombie Cop’ and ’Chickboxer’) and interview with his many friends and co-workers. On top of this, we have one of James Black’s films entitled ’Galaxy of the Dinosaurs’. This sixty minute feature is presented by ’Unwatchable Films’ and it certainly lives up to that moniker. (But what can you buy for $1500!) The trailer for ’The Vault’ is included, as well as trailers for five other Full Moon movies. As ’The Vault’ was a co-production with J.R. Bookwalter’s Tempe Entertainment, there are seven trailers for titles available from Tempe. Overall, this is another nice package from Full Moon, I just wish that ’The Vault’ had lived up to its potential.