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Vacancy (2007)
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Review Date: October 04, 2007
Director: Nimrod Antal
Writer: Mark L. Smith
Producers: Hal Lieberman
Actors:
Kate Beckinsale as Amy
Luke Wilson as David
Frank Whaley as Mason
Plot:
A troubled married couple are forced to spend a night in a seedy motel room when their car runs into mechanical problems in the middle of nowhere. Once in the room, the duo quickly discover that there are a bunch of weirdos around them, and even worse than that…weirdos who like to mess with people’s heads…and then kill them!! A lot of banging on doors ensues, as well as plenty of good ol’ fashioned suspense.
Critique:
I like these kinds of movies. You know, the kind that place the viewer in a voyeuristic sort of position as an audience member, while at the same time, providing you with enough realism to put yourself in the place of those in peril on the big screen. In this case, “those in peril” are Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson, who despite not providing much “real couple” sparks of chemistry between them, do provide enough solid acting chops in order for me to buy into their whole “We’re up shit’s creek without a paddle!” scenario, even moreso because Beckinsale is hotter than hot shit on a hot day and Wilson because he’s always pretty reliable as the “regular Joe”. The film starts off with a very interesting premise, look and feel, and within the first 15 minutes, really gets into the nitty-gritty of its suspense ways, which actually start there and don’t really stop until the film’s end credits start to roll. In fact, if you’re a fan of suspense movies that place “plain ol’ people” in very disturbing and seemingly unsurviveable situations, this movie is definitely for you. It affected me a little more because an extremely similar event happened to me once, as my car broke down at around 3 in the morning, on some two-bit highway in the middle of Bumfuck, Ohio and needless to say, I was scared shitless, particularly when an odd-looking man in a beat-up pickup truck stopped to “help me out”. He was the first person to pass by me in 10 minutes, so I had no choice but to get in his pickup truck, but needless to say, I was petrified. But enough about me.

The small issues I had with this film were its length, which despite moving at a quick pace, only lasted about 78 minutes, which for a feature motion picture, is just too short, and some of the small plot issues, like why the killers seemed to take more time “scaring” the couple, rather than just getting in there and messing them up for good. I didn’t mind the fact that the filmmakers decided not to explain the motivations behind all of their craziness (sometimes it’s better to let the audience just imagine that sort of shit), but at least explain where they all came from. One of the dudes just showed up out of nowhere at one point. The film also ended rather abruptly, but all in all, I was biting my toenails during most of this ride, appreciated the realistic situations in which these people were placed, and even wondered aloud whether or not they’d make it out alive. So kudos to the director for some great moody choices all around (that banging on the doors scared the shit out of me!), the actors for keeping up that fearful intensity the whole way through and the screenwriters, for plugging a couple of small humorous notes in there as well – always provides for a nice break. As for Frank Whaley…dude, where have you been?! That character was very creepy.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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