Vacancy [DVD] 
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A suspenseful, classic thriller, in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock, starring Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale, that will keep you on the edge of your seat and your heart pounding! When David (Luke Wilson) and Amy Fox's (Kate Beckinsale) 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 videos they find in their room 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 whomever is watching them can finish their latest masterpiece.
A confined setting is a useful tool for thriller-makers, and Vacancy is definitely boxed in: a run-down motel way, way off the Interstate, the kind of place where unsuspecting movie characters go to get stabbed to death in the shower. If Vacancy doesn't quite live up to its Hitchcockian forbears, at least it provides 80 minutes of well-designed mayhem. You know somebody's paying attention just from the opening credits, a clever vortex with pounding music by Paul Haslinger. Then we meet unhappy couple Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale, driving along in the dark and forced to stay at the Pinewood Motel after a car breakdown. There's a night man (Frank Whaley, World Trade Center) in the tradition of Dennis Weaver's Touch of Evil gargoyle, but the real mess of trouble is waiting in room number 4.
Director Nimrod Antal, who scored a stylish international hit with the Hungarian thriller Kontroll, squeezes maximum juice out of the Route 66 atmosphere of the motel, although the movie doesn't get under your skin the way Kontroll did. Wilson and Beckinsale are a little too marquee-namish for this kind of heavy-breathing work, and the script doesn't give them much to play with. But hey, it's not that kind of movie. Where it really belongs is on the top half of a drive-in double bill, or maybe as a nightmare-scenario TV movie from the Seventies. Either way, it works. --Robert Horton, Amazon.comSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Okay, we've seen it all before, us jaded horror fans. Yet despite its lack of originality this little movie is surprisingly effective. It takes its time to introduce the couple. It doesn't give them, individually, a great deal of depth or detail. We don't learn what jobs they have, for instance, or where they live. It's more about their relationship, which is explored with a surprising amount of delicateness. Beckinsale and Wilson genuinely feel like a thirty-something couple whose marriage is on the rocks. We learn that they are returning from a parents' wedding anniversary party, that they are tired from the strain of having to pretend to be a happy couple; and we think, yes, they'd be like this. It's probably for this reason that we really start to care when there is a knocking on their door at a very antisocial hour.
From then on, it's played straight. It doesn't try to be funny, or camp, or clever, and it certainly doesn't push any barriers. It just gives us a lot of good, honest scares. It is an old-fashioned slasher flick boiled down to its basic elements, and served up without irony.
Only the ending is disappointing; the film goes out with a fizzle. You are waiting for the climax, only to see the credits roll. Even a small-scale, unassuming film like this needs something bigger. Apart from that, this is all good stuff.
Seen it before? Yes we all most certainly have, from proto slashers to Euro terrors, the couple under siege formula is as old as the hills themselves. But Vacancy has such a sense of fun and a unique use of its plot setting, that even a terribly formulaic cop out towards the end is mostly forgiven. The setting is one dirty hole of a motel, but the dirt is not merely confined to the structure and basic house keeping of the place, the worst dirt comes in a terrifying form that is fully formed from the moment we meet the creepy motel manager (a wonderfully cheesy Frank Whaley). From here our intrepid couple, very well played by Luke Wilson & Kate Beckinsale, must use the most basic resources to hand, to hopefully escape the clutches of masked assailants intent on gutting them in the name of entertainment.
What follows is the usual jumps and perilous set ups, and a quirky line in labyrinth adventure. But then that ending that almost derails the whole picture, it does hurt it because we the viewers can only feel let down that the makers chose to not stay with what would have been an impacting turn of events.Read more ›
A few plus points:
* Frank Whaley, the actor playing the sadistic motel owner Mason, is fantastic, really creepy and unnerving. When he loses his temper and freaks out you start getting seriously worried about what he'll do next
* It gets suspenseful pretty quickly so we're not left waiting for half the film. I've personally seen too many movies now that left the good bits until the very last quarter, but thankfully this isn't one
* The plot is close to believable - a motel owner makes a living making real-life snuff movies by hiding secret cameras in the bedrooms of his clients and setting his killers on them. The helpless couple try to escape but are caught and forced to fight for their lives.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great suspense movie with lots of twists. Good storyline and good acting. I originally saw the movie on sky but wanted a copy as it is one I would watch again. Brilliant movie.Published 1 month ago by Jacqueline Pollock
This is a lovely film if you like such films. Forget the second poart compared to the first thou.Published 2 months ago by MD