When David and Amy Fox's car breaks down in the middle of
nowhere, they are forced to spend the night at the only motel
around, with only the TV to entertain them... until they discover
that the low-budget slasher movies they're watching were all
filmed in the very room they're sitting in. With hidden cameras
now aimed at them... trapping them in rooms, crawlspaces,
underground tunnels... and filming their every move, David
and Amy must struggle to get out alive before they end up
the next victims on tape.
didn't you stay on the interstate?”
question. “Vacancy” opens with a bickering couple,
David and Amy Fox (played by Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson)
getting lost on some deserted road after attending a party
celebration. Through their dialogue, you knew both of them
are having some marital problems, had a kid once and close
to signing the papers. There’s even a funny dialogue
exchange illustrating the classic situation - males are known
for refusing to ask for directions.
“Vacancy” is far from funny, without a mechanic
(their car supposedly broke down after a raccoon incident)
and lost in the middle of nowhere, the Fox couple have to
lodge in a cheap motel for the night with a sinister-looking
manager (Frank Whaley) manning the reception. And that’s
when the horror starts to seep in once they entered their
director Nimrod Antal (who directed the acclaimed “Kontroll”
in his homeland) crafted a taut, suspense thriller, which
will make Hitchcock proud if he’s alive today. Shot
in confined environments and without resorting to cheap jump-scare
tactics, exploitative sex scenes and excessive gore, “Vacancy”
is one hell of a ride to the surprise of this reviewer.
sure you will root for David and Amy who tried their very
best not to become the next victims of the evil motel owners’
snuff tapes along the way. How about the underground tunnel?
Is he a real policeman or a decoy? Where’s the trapped
door? These are the questions that will keep your mind-boggling.
The short runtime of this 85 minutes movie plays a part as
well, it prevents you from wandering away or pause to search
for plot holes.
is nothing original; in fact it has the elements of all the
horror thrillers you seen in your entire life. Still, I had
a good time rooting for the couple, despite all the cheesiness,
it’s one of the best thrillers of the year!
And don't ever lodge at sinister-looking roadside
motels even if they offer free upgrade to honeymoon suite.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
It’s wise for the filmmakers to opt for the
final film’s opening instead of the Alternate
Opening Sequence. It shows nothing but reveals everything.
of this because it’s spoilers-filled and revealed certain
crucial plot points. Checking In: The Cast and Crew
of Vacancy is the usual EPK featurette which covers
interviews with the director, cast, writers and producer.
What’s interesting is they built everything on soundstage
and later a replica outside the studio for the day scenes.
Bet you can’t tell the difference.
Film otherwise known, as Mason's Video Picks:
Extended Snuff Films is a collection of video clips
of the victims facing sudden death. Bits of it are shown in
the movie but here it is in its full glory. If you love to
hear people screaming, pleading desperately for help and being
slashed, you are sick!
Scene features a peeing Luke Wilson being alarmed
by a raccoon. There’s no director commentary but obviously,
I can tell you no one likes to see a guy peeing or a raccoon
appearing for the second time.
Trailers of “Ghost Rider”, “Identity”
and “Perfect Stranger” round up this DVD.
Visually, dark tones filled up the majority of the movie.
It can be a tad distracting to see what’s going on at
have no problems with the audio though. The banging doors,
the loud shrills and the heavy panting fills up the surround.
Dialogue is clear and you can even switch to hear Kate Beckinsale
screaming in Spanish, Portuguese or Thai.
Parting Thoughts: Despite slamming it with a M18
rating, “Vacancy” is pretty mild and light on
the violence/gore/nudity factor with the exception of countless
F-words populated throughout. I recommend it solely for the
high tension and suspense level which many thrillers nowadays
seem to focus less on.
by Linus Tee