THE VAULT is a new crime-thriller by director Jaume Balagueró of the zombie franchise [Rec]. It’s a classic thriller with elements of adventure, mystery, and a great cast. Very entertaining – even if I don’t see why it has an R rating. Read our full The Vault movie review here!

THE VAULT is a new crime-thriller that works really well thanks to an entertaining plot and a great cast. I have no idea why it has an R rating since it never becomes too violent or sexual. However, it is of course centered on crime (getting into and robbing a vault), so maybe that’s why.

This is a classic thriller with elements of crime, adventure, and mystery. For us here at Heaven of Horror, the director made it a must-watch and I’m very happy we did. Jaume Balagueró is the director, and fans of the Spanish zombie franchise [Rec] are familiar with this excellent horror director.

Not to be confused with the 2017 horror-mystery The Vault starring James Franco. Read our review of that movie here >

Continue reading our The Vault movie review below and find it in limited theaters and on VOD from March 26, 2021.

Paying homage to classic heist movies

There is a definite air of Ocean’s Eleven to this movie. It doesn’t have quite the same humor and lightness as that franchise. However, one of the characters does reference Danny Ocean (George Clooney’s character in Ocean’s Eleven) so the tribute is obvious.

Also, I liked that it avoided all the major tropes and stereotypes while still staying true to the overall concept of a heist movie. In some ways, it’s almost like a reverse “escape room“-deal. Instead of trying to get out of a place, they need to figure a way to get inside a vault. Basically, it has a touch of Mission Impossible to it as well, but not that much.

Recommended reading: If you like “escape room”-movies, then check out No Escape Room on Netflix >

Personally, I always enjoy a good action-adventure movie, but with The Vault, you get the added bonus of having an intelligent thriller as the genre-driver. That makes this movie a lot more entertaining than just a classic “paint by numbers”-storyline. Also, don’t worry, it doesn’t go full CSI where the conclusions come insanely easily to everyone. They do have to work for it.

The Vault (2021) Review

The cast of The Vault

While The Vault (also known as Way Down) does have somewhat of an ensemble cast, it is still with a young genius front and center. His name is Thom Laybrick and he’s portrayed by Freddie Highmore. I’ve basically always liked Freddie Highmore but he really won over my horror heart with his Norman Bates role in Bates Motel. Simply brilliant!

In The Vault, Freddie Highmore plays an extremely intelligent young man who also comes across as being a good guy. He wants to make a difference rather than just follow in his father’s footsteps. This ultimately means a life of crime with his actions in this movie, but hey, that’s what makes the movie.

Starring alongside him to create “The Heist Team” are Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones), Sam Riley (Rebecca), Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (the French version of Calls), and Luis Tosar (the Netflix series The Minions of Midas)

Also, Jose Coronado (Tu hijo) co-stars, as the man responsible for protecting the bank, while Famke Janssen (Primal) is in the movie in a small, but very significant (of course) role!

Watch The Vault in limited theaters and on VOD

As already stated earlier, The Vault (which also has the title Way Down on IMDb) is directed by Jaume Balagueró. Personally, I’ve been a huge fan of this director since his 1999 horror-mystery Los sin nombre which was his feature film debut. Seriously, you need to check this out. The English title is The Nameless and it is brutal!

Since then, Jaume Balagueró went on to create the [REC] zombie franchise with Paco Plaza. Also, he directed the awesome Sleep Tight (org. title Mientras duermes) which starred Luis Tosar, who is also in The Vault. Sleep Tight is part of the recent wave of Spanish movies that are being remade in South Korea. The remake is Door Lock from 2018.

You might like: Our review of the South Korean Door Lock which is a remake of a Jaume Balagueró movie >

The screenplay for The Vault was written by Rowan Athale (Outside the Wire), Michel Gaztambide, Borja Glez. Santaolalla, Andrés M. Koppel, and Rafa Martínez. Usually, that many writers is a very bad sign, but somehow it works with this movie.

The Vault is out in limited theaters and on-demand from March 26, 2021.


Director: Jaume Balagueró
Writers: Rafa Martínez, Andrés Koppel, Borja Glez. Santaolalla, Michel Gaztambide, Rowan Athale
Stars: Freddie Highmore, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Sam Riley, Liam Cunningham, Luis Tosar, Famke Janssen, Axel Stein, José Coronado


When an engineer learns of a mysterious, impenetrable fortress hidden under The Bank of Spain, he joins a crew of master thieves who plan to steal the legendary lost treasure locked inside while the whole country is distracted by Spain’s World Cup Final. With thousands of soccer fans cheering in the streets, and security forces closing in, the crew have just minutes to pull off the score of a lifetime.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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