So, this bickering couple leave the interstate and promptly find themselves in an isolated motel with cockroaches in the bathroom and a manager who's like Ned Flanders in a 'Treehouse' episode. Which isn't good. You'd think people would have learned by now: never, EVER leave the interstate! But anyway, they do, and before you know it, there's mysterious banging, videotapes, masked men, knives, blood, and lousy room service ...
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.