Instead of focusing on graphic death sequences, the film's tension stems from the eerily believable Hitchcockian build-up. The film also relies on the intelligence of its lead couple, as they attempt to survive the killers' cat-and-mouse games by using logic and reason. You know, as opposed to stupidity, since that's what most characters in horror flicks tend to deem appropriate.
There are times when the movie ventures into the realm of cliché (particularly near the end when it devolves into a generic and anti-climactic mess), but the slickness of the direction keeps the whole thing together. Also effective are the oddly cast actors. I never would've expected Luke Wilson to be able to pull off a role that was neither wimpy nor dopey, and I especially never thought he could share good chemistry with the unbelievably hot Kate Beckinsale (who I'm pretty sure is God's way of saying that masturbation's OK). Taking into account these are characters that virtually b*tch at each other most of the runtime, they manage to be surprisingly likable. As does Frank Whaley, the quirky and creepy hotel manager (though his transformation into a hardass towards the end was borderline laughable).
Despite a lackluster ending and some irritating plot holes (like the bathroom mat being completely untouched), VACANCY is sure to please most old-school movie fans looking for an entertaining horror-thriller. It won't blow your mind, but for all its mild pleasures, it makes for a nail-bitingly fun 85-minutes.
Alternate Opening Sequence (1:17): I'm so incredibly glad they didn't use this to open the movie, because the scene is lousy. It shows the police at the aftermath of the crime, investigating what happened. I hate when movies feel the need to reveal details of the ending when it's not absolutely necessary, so this being replaced with some simple typography opening credits was a smart choice.
Checking In: The Cast & Crew of Vacancy (21:38): A basic behind-the-scenes featurette with tons of interview snippets mixed with clips from the film. They discuss the movie's style, its characters, and other general details.
Mason's Video Picks: Extended Snuff Films (8:48): From a filmmaking standpoint, this would've been a lot more interesting had they not tried to gritty up the footage by intercutting static all over the place. From any other standpoint, can't really say I know why somebody would want to watch this. Morbid curiosity, perhaps?
Raccoon Encounter (1:26): A deleted scene involving the return of the raccoon. Nothing special.
There's also a whole slew of Previews, including but not limited to 30 DAYS OF NIGHT (cool), VANTAGE POINT (cool), and I KNOW WHO KILLED ME (sh*t).