Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for The Vanished.
The movie The Vanished is an American physiological thriller that came out in late 2020. The film follows a married couple who goes on a family camping trip and loses their 10-year-old daughter Taylor (Sadie and KK Heim) in the middle of their vacation.
The Vanished stars Anne Heche as Wendy and Thomas Jane as Paul, and is directed by Peter Facinelli (who you likely know best as Mike Dexter in Can't Hardly Wait and Dr. Carlisle Cullen in Twilight) who also wrote the screenplay. This dark drama has a blockbuster twist that ends up putting everything into perspective. Beware of spoilers if you have not seen the movie yet.
Is 'The Vanished' based on a true story?
While the thrilling, nail-biting movie feels like it could be a real-life case, it is not based on a true story. The story is purely a work of fiction, although the script's truthfulness feels like the complete opposite. However, one thing that does ring true of The Vanished: Anne and Thomas are an actual couple offscreen.
If you’ve ever watched Fractured, you may find a few similarities with The Vanished. Ray Monroe (Sam Worthington) takes his wife and daughter to the hospital after an accident, and once he realizes that the hospital has other plans for them, he takes charge. He ends up saving his daughter and rescues his wife. Ray does whatever he can to protect his family, even if it means he has to kill someone.
What happened to Taylor in 'The Vanished'?
After Wendy finds out that Taylor is missing from their lakeside RV camp, the couple begins frantically searching for her all around the site. They even go to local police and the media in hopes of finding their daughter. They end up going off on their own and looking for her themselves when all else fails. This ends up making matters worse because they accidentally kill a man on their quest to find their missing daughter.
It would seem that Wendy and Paul would either find Taylor or not, but that's not how this movie ends at all. In the moments before the end of the film, it's revealed that the sheriff who was in charge of the investigation discovers a photo of the couple in front of the Twin Towers. What intrigues the officer is that Wendy is pregnant in the picture. He can't figure out how the couple's daughter is only 10 when that picture dates back to at least 17 years of time. Creepy!
The cop then gets in touch with Paul’s brother to get to the bottom of the truth. It turns out that Taylor was never missing! She died several years before in a lake drowning. Paul and Wendy have a shared psychosis called folie à deux that causes them to imagine Taylor is still alive. What is so crazy is that this wasn't the first time they’ve panicked about her disappearing, although it never ended with such horrific results before.
The Vanished is available to stream on Netflix, but if you don’t have an account you can also watch it on Prime Video, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and FandangoNow.