The Vanishing (1993) Script


Thirty-seven minutes and 15 seconds.

I'm gonna stay within a 30-mile area of the cabin.

Excuse me, miss. Yes, I'm sorry to bother you.

I'm looking for the post office.

You are? Would you like me to give you a lift?

What? Please.


Oh, shit!

Excuse me, I just...


Hi, Dad.

What are you reading? Nothing.

Wuthering Heights?

"Catherine, is it not sufficient that while you're at peace...

I shall ride in the torments of hell?"


It's romantic!

If they can put it in a book, it's not.

Romance has to be secret.

Do you have a girlfriend?

I mean, fixing the cabin...

I'm not stupid, you know.

I wouldn't blame you for cheating on Mother.

That's not a nice thing to say, is it?

Got your nose. Haven't you ever played Got Your Nose?

Don't make a face when you see it. Imagine it fixed up.

Daddy? How many stars are there?

They're infinite.

There are so many... and so far away... that they can't be counted.

You'd never get to the end.



You hungry?

Open the picnic basket.


It's all right. They're only spiders.

They can't hurt you.

MAN: Hey, Barney!

Hi, Stan!

Were you here at your place last night?

Yeah, why? I thought I heard screams.

Like a child.

I didn't hear a thing.

Have a nice day.

Miss, can you tell me how to get to the post office?

Yeah, sure.

You go straight down, about a mile.

It's off Handley. That's what I couldn't remember.

Thanks. Are you going that way?

I can give you a lift. No, it's okay. Excuse me.



Excuse me, miss? Go away.

Can you tell me how to...? Don't bother me!



Are you having an affair?

I love you.

I love Denise.

I know you think restoring this cabin is a crazy idea... but what if it's not?

What if I'm learning about myself... realizing that if I can do this, I can do anything?

So I take a step.

I think, "Is this crazy? Should I stop?"

Then I think:

"Not yet.

There's always time to turn back... if I want to." So I take another step... and another... and another...

until one day I realize that...

I've crossed that line... and there's no turning back.

WOMAN: Let's get out of here.

What? This is what we came for. Let's go.

We didn't drive from Seattle just to go back home.


Where do you wanna go? Nowhere.

Don't sulk. I'm not sulking.

We're on vacation.


There must be other disaster areas to go to.


DIANE: What was that? JEFF: Nothing.

Oh, come on! No! Shit!


DIANE: I don't believe this. I told you we needed gas.

JEFF: It happened, okay? DIANE: It's not okay.

Why are you so upset?

Nobody can see us until they are on top of us!

Why didn't you stop? We passed 10 places!

They can see us fine, okay, Diane?

Oh, God!

Oh, God! No! Just calm down.

Should we push it? Let's go.

I'll get the flashlight.

Flashlight? Jesus Christ, Di! Find it!

What are you gonna do with it? You go.

You'll never find anything in that mess.

Jeff, I'll find it! I'm going!

Jeff, don't leave me alone!


I shouldn't have left you. I lost my head.

I don't know why I did it.

I love you.

I'm sorry.

That's 15 bucks.



JEFF: Okay, let's go home.

DIANE: No, park the car. Park the car.


Now repeat after me.


I... I...

...Jeff Harriman... ...Jeff Harriman...

...swear that the wonderful... ...swear that the wonderful... the exquisite and sweet...

The potentially sweet...

The always sweet...

...Diane Shaver... The always sweet Diane Shaver...

Will never be left by me again.

Will never be left by me again.

Till death do us part.

Till death do us part.

That makes it feel so official.

I love you. I love you.

You all right? Mm-hm.

I forgot. I have a present for you.

Yeah? Yeah.

This is great!

I wanted to give it to you tonight, but...

I screwed it up.

"Forever, Diane."

I don't smoke.

For you to light my cigarette.

What? I wanna drive.

I have to go to the bathroom. You want anything? Soda pop, beer?

Beer. That'd be great.


What the hell is taking her so long?

Oh, the keys.


WOMAN: Hey! This is the ladies' room!



I'm looking for my girlfriend.

I've got a picture I took today. She's wearing this.

Yes, I did see her. When?

Half-hour ago. She was over by the lotto machine.

Was she alone? Did she talk to anyone?

You know how many people pass through here?

No cutting in line!

My girlfriend's disappeared. Has anyone seen her?

Please. Anybody?

JEFF: We pulled in, we got gas. We then parked in that space.

She came into the store. That's when she disappeared.

Did you fight recently?

Wasn't a fight. It was a thing.

A thing? Don't you have a girlfriend?

Yeah, and if I think something's just a thing... you can bet she'll think it's a fight.

I'll make a report, but give it 24 hours...

No, listen to me! She has disappeared!

Something happened to her. It's not a lovers' quarrel.

I urge you to move your face back to where it was.

Now, I know you're upset.

If I get information indicating foul play, I'll proceed.

But for now, you better go home.

That's it?

BARNEY: I've had him in my class. He's a complete failure.

I know, but probably not a total lost cause. Please, I just...

Look, he put up a new one.

I heard him on the radio. Every month he replaces the posters.

Every 30 days. You can set your watch.

He must've loved her very much.

I do admire his perseverance.

Night of the living dead. I'll get him.

No, this is your second double this week.

You got something more interesting? Mel Gibson doesn't call.

I know that guy.

From where, prison?

High school.

I'll go get him, okay?

Tough night?

Coffee, please.

You really think you need it? You got luggage under those eyes.

I'll bring you milk.

I don't want milk. I'd like coffee, please.

How much sleep did you get last night?

Night before, night before that?

One milk, coming up.

How long have you worked here?

Since the dawn of man.

MAN: Rita, bring me those checks.

My friend disappeared between Mount St. Helene and Seattle.

That's about 60 miles from here.

I know.

What does your friend look like?

I know this is really crazy, but I think...

If I remembered everyone who came in, I'd be a freak of nature.

She's beautiful.

Yeah, I know.

What's your name?


Shit! Don't worry about it. It's okay.

I'm not letting you get into a car like this.

There's a nice, big cot in the back.

Let me sit for a minute... You can't drive like this.

You should be in bed. I'll be all right.

RITA: What do you do now?

JEFF: I was a copywriter, but I lost my job.

I'm sorry. No.

No, I'm writing a novel. I couldn't do that if I was still one.

Why don't you take my number?

Don't give it to strangers.

I slept with you, at least in the same room.

That bed killed my back. Give me your arm. Turn around.

What are you doing? Just relax, here.

Did it crack? Is it better?

I gotta clear more space.

Look what I found.

Why don't you talk about her anymore? She was the No. 1 topic.

What's the point? To get upset? To wind up all frustrated?

It's weird how things just fade away. It's not faded.

Your stuff is in the top drawer.

RITA: What's in those boxes? More crossword puzzles?

JEFF: Those aren't crossword puzzles. They're anagrams.

Oh, anagrams. That's really important.

It's mostly old stuff. Just high school yearbooks.

Really? Where? I wanna see. Now?

We have some unfinished business. Don't go through my stuff. Rita!

You okay? No.

What is this? It almost killed me. It's nothing.

It's for protection.

There's a lot of psychos around.

It's loaded.

That's usually what psychos respond to, honey.

Why didn't you tell me we have a gun?

You just moved in. You also have to bang on the faucet.

Let's get one thing straight, okay?

No secrets, Jeff. In the heart, on the lips.

Rita, I need it.


Thank you.

Come on. No more secrets, I promise, okay?

One night when you're asleep, I'm going to chuck that gun.


I'm sorry.

MAN ON MACHINE: This is for Jeff Harriman. It's Arthur Bernard.

On a Sunday night? Who's he?

A publisher. I gave him my book.

Wait! One sec. Hold on.

I need to talk to you.

Hello? Arthur. Yes, Jeff Harriman.

I'm sorry, Jeff. I'm afraid it's not for us.

But it's very good. Very talented.

I see.

Don't look so destroyed.

We'd like you to write something else for us.

Like an assignment? Exactly.

That would be great.

I remember when your girlfriend's disappearance was in the news.

That was terrible.

I was in Tacoma at a wedding, and I saw your posters.

I'd forgotten all about it, but you're still looking.

Yes, I am. I want your story, Jeff.

The whole thing.

What do you say?


I've been trying to put that behind me.

Oh, I'm sorry. What happened?

I'm gonna be able to pay the rent now.

He liked it? He loved it.

That's great! That's great!

Let's go celebrate. Okay.


It's about us, isn't it? You can tell me. I don't mind.

Let's go to bed.

Excuse me. How much is that uniform?

What time is it?

Seven o'clock.

You have to go?

It's only one weekend a month.

Does your mom know you joined?

She filled out the application.

Go back to sleep. See you tomorrow night.

Welcome to Channel 7 News Check. I'm Paul McGraw.

Tonight my guest is the courageous and tormented Jeff Harriman.

Welcome to our show. Thank you.

PAUL: In the years Diane's been missing, any new clues?

Have the kidnappers made any contact?

JEFF: No, not at all.

PAUL: And yet here you sit, year after year, trying to find her.

At least to find out what happened.

PAUL: That must've cost a lot of money.

JEFF: Pretty much everything I have.

PAUL: Let's just say the kidnapper is watching.

Anything you'd like to say to him now?

I want to meet you.

I don't hate you. I just wanna know what happened to her.

I'm prepared to do anything to find out. Please.

I need to know.


Measure on the bench.


Don't you value your eyes?

All right, gather around, please.

The greatest risk the research chemist faces... is that a contaminant is introduced... into the experiment... without his knowledge, rendering the experiment pointless.

Rita Baker.

"Once upon a time, in a wood, there lived a finch named Kiki.

With her raccoon friends, Pop and Reba... she went to find the source of the river."

A children's book. Lulu the alligator. Lavender.

Oh, my God!

WOMAN: Room service.

RITA: Open up. The guy at the desk said you're here.

Is this what you want?

Take it off. Why?

I believe in giving my man what he wants. You know what?

Call me Diane. I'll treat you like shit.

Then I'll disappear!

Take it off!

Oh, my God!

No secrets? Remember, Jeff? No secrets!

I knew I could never make you understand.

Who are you?

You tell me the truth!

Did you know what you were doing when you went... from crying to waking up in a sweat from dreaming about her?

Mentioning her less and taking her picture off the night table... and putting mine there? Dancing on the balcony?

Was the whole thing planned just to throw me off?

I didn't wanna lose you! You're still in love with her!

I'm in love with you.

What are you saying?

I may not be as smart as you, but I'm not a dumb bitch.

Look at this room! No pictures except for the posters!

No mementos, just this! I love you, Rita!

I cracked the code, Jeff.

I saw the book.

You're a liar.

I tried not to come. I almost went back home... but if I did, I'd just pack up and go.

Why didn't you?

Because I don't know how not to fight.

Nobody in my family ever fought for anything.

They wound up on Prozac and sleeping all day... or dead from liver disease at 35.

That's not gonna happen to me, Jeff. I fight!

It's not her, Rita.

It hasn't been for a very long time.

Then what is it?

It's it. It's not knowing.

You know what I do? I pretend I have a choice.

Either to let her go on living wherever she is... and never know what happened... or she can be dead, and I get to find out everything.

So I let her die.

I swear to God, I wish she were dead.

You don't know what it is like to not know.


I'm sorry. But I don't know what to do.

I do.

JEFF: I haven't been to the gas station since.

I sent the manager posters. He put them up.

I never went back myself.

RITA: Then it's time you did.

Come on.

Till death do us part.

She's gone, Jeff. Gone.

You may never find out how or why. You have to accept that.

If Diane were here right now...

I'd ask you to marry me. It's you I love, I swear.

But if it were possible to choose right now...

I'd rather be back at this gas station... so I'd find out what happened.

It's not good enough.

If you ever wanna move on with your life... if you wanna be just alive again... then this is your last chance. I love you... but you must decide to be with me, or I'm gone.

Let her go, Jeff.

Let her go.


"Meet me alone... at the yacht club."


Read it.

Go on. Come on.

He's watching me. I can feel it.

My fear was that he was dead.

But there are things in this letter only he could know.

Jeff, he's seen your picture in the paper.

He wants to see how far you'll go. He's loving this.

No, look. He signed it. Barney.

You think that's his real name? That's not the point.

You're right.

The point is, what am I doing here? It's never gonna change.

It'll just go on until you end up as crazy.

This letter's the first break I've had.

I can nail this fucker!

Go to the police! You can't do this on your own!

The police? They laugh at me. I'm a joke to them.

I'm starting to see their point.

Don't do this to me, not now! Jesus Christ, you are amazing!

Did it occur to you that she doesn't wanna be found?

Goodbye, Jeff.

Run like a coward. At least Diane was taken by force.

I am not Diane!

You've reached Jeff Harriman and his twisted ego.

Rita Baker no longer lives here. She's left Jeff.

She's moving out, and she will not be found here again.

So don't look for me, forever.



You reached Jeff Harriman and Jeff's twisted ego.

Rita Baker no longer lives here. She has left Jeff.

Rita! Rita?

Oh, shit.

Hi, you've reached 555-8767. Please leave a message.

Hello, Jeff.

I'm the man you're looking for. I'm Barney.

Son of a bitch!

What did you do with her?

Where is she? What did you do with her?

Tell me!

Where is she, Barney?

Kill me if you want. You have every right.

Beat me to a bloody pulp.

But if I die, you'll never know.

I'm sorry. Were you done? Tell me where she is!

There's only one way for you to find out.

How? One.


Come with me.


In my car for a drive.

To where? Diane?

Come with me.

Tell me, is she dead?

I'm offering you this one chance... to find out everything.

I warn you, I've taken precautions.

If anything happens to me, or if you speak to anyone... you'll never know what happened.

I'm leaving now... with or without you.

I'll go with you, but you take me to Diane!


He'd be such a great guy.

If he wasn't monumentally fucked up.

Lynn, come here, come here.

I hope he hasn't changed it. Listen to the message.

- JEFF: You've reached... He changed it.

Leave him a message! Wait a minute.

BARNEY: Hello, Jeff.

What? - BARNEY: I'm who you're looking for.

Oh, my God! - I'm Barney.

What? Oh, my God!


I hope you like roast beef.

I've thought a lot about meeting you.

I've wanted to right from the start. Did you rape her?

I'm not a rapist. It's important that you understand that.

Then what did you do to her?

Let me tell you a story.

When I was 15, it was an ordinary day...

I don't wanna hear your damn story. I couldn't give a shit.

I wanna know what happened to her.

Then you'll want to listen to the story.

You want to listen carefully.

Sometimes the devil is in the details.

Now, once, when I was 15... it was an ordinary day... with my ordinary home and my ordinary life.

Something willed me to the edge of the balcony.

I wondered if I had the courage to jump.

I kept waiting for something to stop me. Anything.

But nothing did.

And so I jumped.

Everybody has had that thought at one time, but I did it. Why?

Because you're a nut case. I wanna know where Diane is!

You're still not listening.

Be careful. The answer will slip by you.

Go on.

I lead a very normal life. I work. I have a home.

But then, one day... on vacation with my family in California...

There's a little girl in the water!

Hurry! She's drowning!


BARNEY: I jumped in without thinking, just like when I was 15.

Once again, nothing stopped me.

I didn't want to save her. I wanted to be a hero for my daughter.

You're the bravest man in the world.

I love you, Daddy.

In that moment, she thought I was a god.

That would make most people feel great, but I panicked.

What does this have to do with Diane? Diane was an experiment.

Saving a life made me a hero, but did it make me a good person?

I had to prove to myself beyond a doubt... that I was as capable of evil as I was of heroism.

Real evil.

The worst thing. Or I wouldn't deserve my daughter's love.

You're fucking insane.

You killed Diane.

For me, to kill is not the worst thing that I could imagine.

There's more to know.

Tell me what happened. I won't say a word.

You won't because if you do you won't get what you need.

Something wrong, officer? You have a broken taillight.

I don't know what to say. There's nothing criminal on the tape.

We'll conduct a search, but he has to be missing 24 hours first.

Twenty-four hours? Jesus!

What is this? Gotta give out parking tickets first?

Lynn, please.

How much have you had to drink?

One after another.

Get that taillight fixed.

Yes, officer. Will do. Thank you.

Drive safely.

Problem? Your seat belt.

I'm claustrophobic. Just put it on.

Yes, sir.

Miss Carmichael? It's Rita! Are you there?

Please come to the door! I need to talk to you!

Magically delicious.

Miss Carmichael! Can you come to the door?

What's the ruckus? You're gonna wake Elvis.

Great. Miss Carmichael, this is very important.

Did you see Jeff here today? Did you see anything unusual?

You mean the fight with Barney? Yes!

What fight? Tell me about it.

Nothing to tell.

Your boyfriend was whopping that man's head... got in the car with him and drove off.

Oh, God!

Okay, what else? Do you remember anything else?

Yes, come to think of it, I do.

Something odd. What?

In the middle of everything... that leprechaun popped off my Lucky Charms box... and started dancing around.

"Magically delicious!"

Thank you.

If you wanna know the license plate number of the car, let me know.

Wait, wait, wait.

It's very urgent. Please! I'll be one minute.

One minute. Please? Thanks.

Sir! Sir, my car was stolen. Your car was stolen?

The license plate is 155INY. I've already been to the police.

Mrs. Cousins? Helene Cousins?


You may still have my old address.

1804 Northwest Everett Drive.

Seattle. New one. Thanks.

You gotta fill out this form.

I was having no success.

My methods needed to be rethought.

And then... my family gave me a little party on my birthday.

Okay, move in.

Right, little closer.


Happy birthday. Happy birthday, Barney.

Blow out the candles, Daddy.

Thank you.



I'm afraid to open it.

Let's see.

What happened to me?

What happened, Daddy? You fell off the balcony.

BARNEY: And that's when it dawned on me.

It wasn't the lure that had to be stronger. I had to be weaker.

Excuse me.

I've opened mine with a barrette a million times.

This way? Yes.

Bless you.

Excuse me. I have to go to the men's room. I don't feel so well.

I'd given up for the day.

It was comical.

I didn't trust myself not to laugh the next time.

Fate, Jeff.

If I hadn't sneezed...

I'm sorry. Quite all right.

I was just wondering if you had five singles.

Three ones.

Just a normal single you could trade me for my mangled one. Thank you.

Could you...?


Thank you.

Okay, now let's see if this works.

This is your lucky day. I can feel it.

Thank you.

That's a beautiful bracelet.

Thank you. That's the symbol for infinity.

I suppose it means it'll stay forever.

Well, it's a nice thought.

My boyfriend would really appreciate something like that.

Where'd you get that?

I rep them.

I handle sales for the whole Northwest Territory.


If you promise not to tell the next time you're in Paris...

I'll let you have a sample for cost.

They're in my car. Really?

With a new product... it's a good idea to have people seen wearing it around town.

Twenty-two bucks. That's cheap.

If I told you the markup we get for these, you'd die. You want one?


Right this way.

There they are.


They're called "tiles" in French?

That's the name of the company. Teels.

Un tile infinity, please.

Could you get in and give me a hand?

Get in? Yes.


Why did you make contact with me?

Because you asked.

The way you searched for Diane.

Such a worthy opponent.

A kindred spirit.

You don't meet many men who refuse to give up or be dominated.

Most just crouch frightened in the dark.

Excuse me.

I'm looking for Mr. Cousins. I saw you come out of his house.

I know who you are.

You do?

Yeah, I saw him watching you this afternoon... at the restaurant.

Come in out of the damp.

I'm Rita.

I'm Denise.

Are you going to run away together?


It's complicated.

Where is he now?

At the cabin. The cabin? I forgot.

Don't you wanna be together forever?

That's the symbol for infinity.

I gave it to him on a bracelet for his birthday.

Look, I wanna go to him now.

But I'm not sure I can find my way. It's dark.

Can you tell me the way?

Come on. You can drop me off on the way.

I'm meeting a boy. Daddy has no idea.

Mother's asleep. Daddy says romance has to be secret.

You won't tell him, will you? No, I won't tell him.

JEFF: I wanna know what you did with her.

I'll tell you.

I will keep my promise.

But there's only one way to do it.

You must experience what she experienced.

What do you mean?

Everything that happened to her, every event from this point on... you must duplicate exactly.

You're crazy.

If you do, logic dictates you'll find her.


This coffee is drugged.

Judging from your size... it would take 15 minutes to take effect.

It'll put you out for 40 minutes or so... the same length of time Diane was out.

You must remain unconscious for us to move on.

So she's not dead?


And afterwards, what?

Drink and you will experience exactly what she experienced.

You don't understand. I won't tell anyone. I just want to know.

I understand.

And when I put myself in your place, I believe you.

That's why I don't need a gun.

Your obsession is my weapon.

It's like you are my laboratory rat.

I provided the materials. You've built the cage.

Only now, you can't escape what you've constructed.

If you want to know what happened to her... you have to go through the same things.

The key chain, I'd like to see it again.

Jeff, look at your life. You have nothing. No job.

No money.

No love.

No peace of mind.

It's been three years of hell.

At what point do you say, "I'm not going to be over this"?

There were nights with Diane I'd pray she'd get into an accident... just so she'd let me take care of her.

Just so she'd have to stay with me.

You don't care if she's alive or dead.

I do.

You're afraid that you won't know who you are.

Who is Jeff if he's not the guy looking for Diane?


Can you walk away from knowing the answer?

Please, I just wanna know what happened to her.

Drink, Jeff, really. What choice do you have?

I said I'd show you what happened to Diane... and I'm a man of my word.




Oh, shit!

Hello, Rita.

I really dislike surprises.


It's me! Come out.

You can't possibly win.

You don't know how.

Your hiding is pointless.

I know these woods inside and out.

They're like a maze.

You must come out if you want to find Jeff!

That's why you came, after all.

Where's Jeff?


Do what you want. You'll never know what happened.

If anything happens to me, all you'll have is your same uncertainty.

Your choice. I'll take my chances.



Jeff, are you here?







Operator 319. What city, please?

Hello? Hello?

Feeling strange?

This is silly, Rita.

You can't fight.


BARNEY: How did you follow us?

Did you see us leave?

The important thing is that it was all Jeff's choice.

Coming to the restaurant, getting in the car... drinking the coffee.

He did what he wanted to do.

You're feeling better, aren't you?

I know how long the chloroform effects last.

You'll soon be strong enough to fight.

Well, I'm sorry, but...

I'm just not up to it.

And besides...

I have to get home before my wife wakes up.

Tell me what you did to Jeff.

You took your chances.

Is he dead?

I made him a cup of coffee. It was drugged.

To find out what happened, he had to go through what she did.

And now you must do the same.

This can be easy, or this can be hard.

Your choice.

Don't worry. It won't keep you up.

Tell me, Mr. Cousins. Have you spoken to your daughter tonight?

What? How do you know my name?

I know your family's names, Barney. Wife, Helene.

Daughter, Denise.

Sweet, innocent, 13-year-old daughter, Denise.

Brown hair, full of secrets.

I've got her.

What are you up to? How were you able to follow us?

Denise knows the way.

I took your daughter tonight to trade for Jeff.

A brave attempt, but we both know it's not true.

Let's talk about the mistress she wants you to have.

Wuthering Heights.

Or better yet, let's talk about infinity.

Helene, it's me.

HELENE: Is Denise with you? Her bed hasn't been slept in.

I got up to close the windows and she wasn't there...

That's right, shithead.

Where is she? What did you do with her?

If you wanna know, you'll have to go through what she did.

Drink. You can't be serious.

Try me.

If you think... Drink!


To your health.

Jeff! God, hold on!

Jeff, hold on! Hold on!

Jeff, hold on!

Oh, Jesus!

God, be alive! Be alive.

Be alive!


I've got 15 minutes to find her, Rita!

Son of a bitch! Where is she?

You killed him! I have no time to mess around!

Get off of me! Bastard! Tell me where she is!

Tell me where she is! No!

Where is she?


I've got 15 minutes to find her, Rita!

No, don't!



It's over. It's over.

You all right?

There was a terrific story there before, but now...

I think it's an out-and-out smash.

I need for you to write it. I don't think so.

We wanna put the whole thing behind us.

Look, I know I'm being gauche, but I'm a publisher.

Write this book, please. You won't regret it.

What do you say?

No coffee.