Have you ever wanted to disappear? Why don’t you just go? Pick up your bag one day without telling anyone.
It’s a thought we’ve all had at some point in our lives, but few of us have or will act on it. Why? For the simple reason that if we didn’t, too many things would go wrong – incomplete tasks, unanswered questions, and upset people, to name a few. You can only imagine the havoc an uninvited disappearance would cause if even a willing one could do this much harm.
Fortunately, every now and then we are treated to a film that allows us to feel as if we are in the movie. Like A Simple Favor, which makes you wonder “Did she disappear herself?,” and other related questions.” “What’s going on with her?”
People have vanished in films for a variety of reasons over the years, some good, some bad, and all of them disturbing. The following are ten films similar to A Simple Favor in which a character vanishes:
1. The Lady Vanishes (1979)
The Lady Vanishes, directed by Abel Gance, honors the man who is often referred to as the “Father of Modern Cinema.”
When their train to England is delayed, a young socialite named Iris makes friends with an elderly woman named Miss Froy, and the two end up spending the night in a hotel together.
Iris has a concussion and goes into a coma when they wake up the next morning to catch the train. If Miss Froy is nowhere to be found, and the other passengers have never seen her before, she’s going to have a rough time when she wakes up. As the train speeds towards England, Iris must work with a traveling musicologist to solve the mystery of Miss Froy’s disappearance.
As a result of three failed box office attempts, many consider The Lady Vanishes to be the film that launched Alfred Hitchcock to fame. The film became an instant hit with audiences and was named the 35th best British film of the 20th century by the British Film Institute.
Interesting fact: Hitchcock won the Best Director Oscar for The Lady Vanishes, the only time he was recognized for his work as a director.
Amazon Prime customers can get their hands on a copy of The Lady Vanishes.
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
In this psychological thriller, based on the novel of the same name, Daniel Craig portrays the disgraced financial reporter Mikael Blomkvist, who is given a second chance by a wealthy industrialist to solve the disappearance of his niece, which took place forty years ago.
Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) is a brilliant computer hacker who has suffered extreme emotional and sexual abuse and trusts no one. Mikael enlists her help.
The Rotten Tomatoes score of 86 percent and the IMDb rating of 7.6/10 of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo reflect how well it was received by critics and audiences alike.
As a result of the acclaim it’s receiving, it’s hard to remember the challenges that this film faced before it was released, including a casting nightmare that included actresses such as Natalie Portman and Ellen Page as well as Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence and Keira Knightley.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo can be purchased from the iTunes store or Google Play store, depending on your preference. If you like A Simple Favor, you’ll enjoy what this sly film has to offer.
3. Covered Tracks (1938)
Séraphine is in Paris for the 1867 World’s Fair, but the city’s overcrowding means they have to stay in several different hotels. Her mother falls ill while out and about in the city late at night and must return to her hotel. When Séraphine goes to check on her in the morning, she is gone, along with everything else that indicated she had been there the night before.
Worse, no one remembers meeting her, leading everyone to question whether Séraphine is truly sane. Séraphine, terrified and worried about her mother, is now scouring the city in search of someone who believes in her and, more importantly, who can assist her in finding her.
4. On the Sly (2012)
There is a French film called On the Sly that takes place in a fictional French orphanage where a young girl believes that her parents ignore her to the point where she is invisible. In order to test this theory, she slams the back door of the station wagon her parents are packing to return to Paris at the end of their family weekend retreat.
It turns out that she had a valid theory. As she sets out on her own in the forest, the audience gets a glimpse of her wild imagination at work. In contrast to the majority of the films on this list, the audience remains with the missing person while the rest of the world figures it out.
Even though this Franco-Belgian co-production is largely unnoticed, the story and performance by Wynona Ringer, the film’s star (and the director’s daughter), make it well worth seeing.
5. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
For the residents of Woodend, Victoria in Australia, Valentine’s Day in 1900 was a strange and ominous occasion. Headmistress Appleyard College, who is known for her strictness, decided to let the students go on a picnic and school field trip to Hanging Rock, a scenic local rock formation.
As if it were their first day of freedom, several of the girls decide to explore the city on their own, despite the fact that they were explicitly told not to leave the group. A teacher and several other students have vanished without a trace, but the headmistress does not discover this until much later.
After that, the plot focuses on the community’s reaction to the mysterious and mass disappearance. Picnic at Hanging Rock, a film adaptation of the same-titled novel, leaves you with more questions than answers. You can’t pin this disappearance on a kidnapper, supernatural being, serial killer, or anyone else.
The girls vanished without a trace, and the community is distraught over the absence of answers. It was so well received by the critics that it led to a 2018 miniseries of the same name.
Download Picnic at Hanging Rock from the iTunes or Google Play store today. Picnic At The Hanging Rock is your best bet if you’re looking for a film like A Simple Favor.
6. Gone Girl (2014)
In rare cases, a film about a missing person’s case has elicited such strong reactions from both sides of the aisle. Nick and Amy Dunne (Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike) are your archetypal happy couple in this 2014 psychological drama.
Amy’s disappearance on their fifth wedding anniversary draws attention to the couple, raising suspicions about Nick. As a result, a web of lies begins to unravel, suggesting that something was amiss beneath the surface of their happiness and that Nick may not be entirely innocent after all
Gone Girl delves deep into the secrets that bind this couple together over the course of more than two hours. Your willingness to go to such lengths in a relationship will be put to the test. Rosamund Pike’s performance earned her nominations for the Academy Awards, the Golden Globe, and the Screen Actors Guild for Best Actress. The film received acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
The movie currently has an approval rating of 87 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and an IMDb audience rating of 8.1/10.
iTunes and the Google Play store both sell Gone Girl.
7. Man on Ground (2011)
Akin Omotoso is the director of Man on Ground, a Nigerian-South African collaboration. Ade and Femi, two estranged brothers, are the focus of the story. It appears as if Ade has everything under control and is a successful banker, while Femi is in exile due to splintered political affiliations in Nigeria and is living in South Africa.
Ade discovers his brother’s disappearance while visiting South Africa on unrelated business. Ade begins to look into his brother’s disappearance and discovers the difficult truths and circumstances surrounding his brother’s daily life in Johannesburg. A well-made film, it deals with issues of xenophobia in South Africa and how it impacts many people’s lives.
Filmgoers raved about it after its premiere at TIFF and it was nominated for several Africa Film Academy awards, taking home two of them.
8. Carmen G (2011)
Carmen G, a film that may be unknown to you but is one of the best on this list, will leave you with broken hearts and a racing mind. A Latina woman of modest means flees her husband’s murderous gangs and seeks asylum in the United States. The film follows her journey.
Carmen arrives in New York with her infant son Mateo, hoping for a better life for both of them. However, her true terror and heartbreak begin on the first night in her New York motel room when Mateo disappears without a trace. Carmen spends the next thirty years of her life searching for her son while also trying to make ends meet and keep herself alive as her health deteriorates. The story revolves around her.
Director Hernán A. Herrera and actors Pierangeli Llinas and Hilda Denmer and Hunter M. Altman collaborated on the screenplay for this powerful drama, which stars Pierangeli Llinas as Carmen and Hernán A. Herrera as director.
9. Keane (2004)
Keane is a thriller about a missing person that will leave you scratching your head for days after you see it. Thirty-year-old Keane, distraught over the disappearance of his daughter, who was last seen at a New York bus terminal, commits suicide by abusing alcohol and drugs. The young single mother and her daughter move in next door, and Keane tries to help them, hoping that by doing so he will find the closure and support he needs to cope with his pain.
Because Keane suffers from schizophrenia, it’s impossible to tell whether his affection for the mother and her daughter is purely innocent or indicative of something far more sinister. Throughout the film, these questions are sown. The most important of these is: was his daughter’s death real?
For those who don’t mind a little mental gymnastics and a movie that makes you doubt the existence of a missing person, Keane is the perfect prescription.
10. Saving Private Perez (2011)
Saving Private Perez is a Mexican adventure comedy that amps up the hilarity on an otherwise depressing search and rescue mission. Julian Perez, the protagonist, is a Mexican crime lord whose younger brother Juan Perez is a U.S. Army Private serving in Baghdad.
To begin, Julian learns that his brother has gone missing when you can put aside your thoughts about how bizarre it is that these two people ended up on opposite ends of the moral spectrum! In a fit of rage, Julian’s mother nags him mercilessly, pleading with him to go and save his brother on what is essentially a suicide mission.
With his best friend a Native American tomato farmer as a backup plan, Julian recruits the best of the best: two obese old men, a convicted murderer recently released from prison and Julian’s best friend, he agrees to the mission. Together, they set out for Turkey to meet Sasha, the Russian drug addict who will serve as the glue that holds the operation together.
Saving Private Perez manages to cram in so many clichés while still managing to be extremely funny, which is a feat in and of itself. The stereotypes are what give the movie its personality. Saving Private Perez, starring Miguel Rodarte and directed by Beto Gómez, explores themes of redemption, humanity, and familial bonds while making you laugh so hard your sides will split. It’s possible to buy Saving Private Perez from the iTunes or Google Play stores.