‘Vacancy’ movie: Quite different from ‘Saw’ & ‘Hostel’
Be sure to double-check the amenities before checking into Vacancy, because what may sound like your average gory thriller in which psychopaths butcher helpless victims is in fact quite a different experience.
Vacancy first introduces us to David (Luke Wilson) and Amy Fox (Kate Beckinsale), a married couple who checks into an isolated motel after their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Once settled in, they soon find themselves terrorized by killers trying to shoot their next snuff film.
Recent horror movies such as Saw and Hostel may have promoted gruesome torture and bloodlust as the only successful ingredients for a suspenseful thriller, but director Nimród Antal’s Vacancy proves otherwise. Unlike most movies of the genre, Vacancy succeeds in crafting nail-biting suspense and intense action without resorting to excessive violence. Instead, Antal and first-time screenwriter Mark L. Smith force their characters to think through their every move while they struggle to find a way out of the motel.
‘Vacancy’ movie: ‘Far from perfect’ despite ‘qualities’
The claustrophobic setting strengthens the film’s overall sense of terror, especially in the sequences that show David and Amy confined to their creepy room.
But despite its qualities, Vacancy is far from perfect. For instance, some of the characters’ decisions are too moronic to be credible, while many of the overblown stunts conform to Hollywood’s action-flick clichés.
Luke Wilson, in a rare non-comedic role, is surprisingly effective, but with Kate Beckinsale by his side there’s not much that could have gone wrong. The thriller’s top acting honors, however, go to Frank Whaley, exuding menace as the eccentric motel manager.
Plot holes aside, Vacancy is engaging enough to keep your heart pounding for 90 fast-paced minutes.
© Franck Tabouring
Vacancy (2007). Dir.: Nimród Antal. Scr.: Mark L. Smith. Cast: Luke Wilson, Kate Beckinsale, Frank Whaley, Ethan Embry, Scott G. Anderson, Andrew Fiscella.
Kate Beckinsale Vacancy movie photo: Sony Pictures.