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124 out of 170 people found the following review useful:

Linear Thriller, Avoids Pitfalls of Genre

Author: gswanson17 from Minneapolis
22 April 2007

Amy (Kate Beckinsale) and David Fox (Luke Wilson) are returning from an arduous family reunion, on their way to Los Angeles. On their trip they encounter car problems and inevitably pull into a motel Norman Bates could feel right at home at. After some awkward exchanges with the owner, they reluctantly decide to spend the night. Upon viewing some tasteless horror films in the room, David begins to suspect their authenticity, and that these are actual murders taking place. Furthermore, he is led to believe the room that these events take place in is none other than the room they are currently residing. With this initial set-up, Vacancy wastes no time launching the audience into an engaging, gripping, and somewhat macabre story while borrowing sparingly from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and managing to side step many land mines other horror films fail to see.

Vacancy has both positives and negatives going for it, however the negatives don't seem to affect the narrative as frequently as in other films. The first thought that came to my mind was its running time. At eighty five minutes, the film may move at too brisk of a pace for some, and at times it feels like it should be part of a short horror film festival, rather than a stand alone feature film. The clichés are very apparent as well-the broken-down car, the mysterious stranger, the out-of-range cell-phone, and the creepy hotel are included, but rather than using them as a crutch for a poor script, the film seems to celebrate their existence. It epitomizes all horror films where the main characters are stranded, encounter mysterious people or creepy locations. The film also fails to successfully flush out the "snuff" film aspect that was so heavily advertised and anticipated. The screen time of these films is very limited and the focus on them is brief. They serve as an fundamental set-up, but after their initial appearance, they fall out of sight and out of mind.

What makes the film much more successful than the average "teen slasher" horror film is, ironically, the absence of teens in the film. In recent years the most successful horror films, in my opinion, like The Sixth Sense, What Lies Beneath, Stir of Echoes, and Hide and Seek all revolve around families, and in particular, the relationships between adults. In Vacancy, Amy and David are a married couple one argument away from a divorce and unlike an amorous, oblivious, teenage couple about to become mincemeat for an axe-murderer, the tension between David and Amy puts them on edge throughout the whole film and translates to tension in the audience while the film builds its suspense. The build of the film also differs from the main pattern set by modern "slasher" films. Winding like a key, the tension never lets down, and unlike the ups and downs of "slasher" films where there are multiple apexes of horror, there is a ratchet effect in Vacancy, where there is no relief and each scene is built upon the previous one. The other very obvious asset to the film is its relative lack of violence compared to most other modern horror films. In recent years, films such as the Saw series, Hostel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Hills Have Eyes have lazily resorted to the shock factor to scare their audience rather than rely on the old saying "It's not the bang that is scary, but rather, the anticipation to the bang." That's not to say that the film isn't violent free, there is some definite violence involved, but in comparison to other films it seems, dare I say, minimal or practical.

The references to Hitchcock's Psycho are refreshingly flattering rather than annoying. In Disturbia, a recent loose remake of Hitchcock's Rear Window, the similarities become annoying and the film loses its intrigue. In Vacancy, the nods to Psycho are very slight. The Pinewood Motel itself is the most obvious example which, like the Bates Motel, is in serious need of redecorating. The beginning credits also throw back to Psycho with its vertical bars violently moving around to forceful string instruments. There are similar references to Halloween as well, but the one thing the film lacks is the characters' emotional dilemma and their feelings of guilt involved in their situation. In Psycho it is Marion's (Janet Leigh) moral dilemma over stealing the money, and in Halloween it is Laurie's (Jamie Lee Curtis) feelings of social inequity. Amy and David do not share this external baggage-their troubled relationship is seemingly repaired through this trial that they are put through and not manifested by a killer such as Michael Myers or Norman Bates. There is no name given to whoever pursues them and there is no correlation that can be drawn between the characters and their tormentors.

All in all Vacancy hits a few high points and is a smart enough film to stay clear of areas where previous horror movies have failed (horrible twist endings such as in Identity). Vacancy has a decent build of suspense, the exclusion of gratuitous violence helps, and the characters are more likable than those of the average horror movie. The letdown is that the film doesn't take any substantial risks. It follows a very linear path, with no deviations, and stays almost exclusively at the motel. It is a film that will entertain, but won't allow for too much out of the box thinking.

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98 out of 135 people found the following review useful:

Has its moments, but fails to leave a mark

Author: keiichi73 from United States
20 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If we learn anything about David (Luke Wilson) and Amy Fox (Kate Beckinsale), the heroes of Vacancy, it is that they have obviously never watched a horror movie in their lives. If they had, they would have known better than to check into the Pinewood Motel and we would be left without a movie. The obvious signs are numerous and ominous. There's the sound of a woman's blood-curdling screams coming from behind the front desk when they check in, there's the mousy and immediately suspicious man running the front desk (Frank Whaley) who makes Norman Bates look like a well-adjusted model employee, and there's the overall creepy vibe that the entire building itself gives off. It's not until they discover the gruesome snuff films in their motel room and the masked madmen start chasing them down that the two finally start fearing for their lives. All the audience can do by that point is sit back and silently say "told you so" to the characters.

When we first meet the unlucky couple, they are a constantly feuding husband and wife who are taking an ill-advised road trip together as kind of a last memory of their relationship before the divorce papers become final. Tensions are high, and the fact that their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere does not exactly help matters. This leads them to the "Motel from Hell" where they ignore the previously mentioned signs of trouble, and check into a scuzzy room where roaches scurry about and mysterious stains cover the bed sheets. They quickly catch on that there's much more to worry about when David discovers some videotapes of what appears to be former guests in the same room they're staying in being brutally beaten and murdered by masked men. Discovering that they are being videotaped at all times by numerous hidden cameras in the room, the couple try to escape, but find the outside area of the motel being patrolled by those mysterious men on the video who refuse to let them leave. It turns out this entire building is a trap set by some very deranged individuals who murder any guest unfortunate enough to check in, and videotape the results for their own twisted amusement.

With a running time that barely manages to hit 80 minutes, Vacancy is tightly edited and tightly paced. Not a second is wasted as the movie dives head-first into its genuinely creepy premise. There are a number of scenes that are bound the raise the tension of all but the most jaded of horror buffs. The brief glimpses that we see of the crudely made murder videos are terrifying without being exploitive, as the movie is wise not to linger too long on the images. The tension is built up even more when creepy and mysterious stuff starts happening. There's a very loud banging on the door of the motel room, and even on the walls from the room next door. The power starts flickering on and off at random, and it's obvious that someone or something is messing with them. It's when the mysterious men start popping up and chasing our heroes that the movie stops being frightening and intriguing, and simply turns into a generic slasher film. (Albeit a slasher film with better production and acting values than the norm.) The men lurk about in the dark just outside the motel room, pop up in front of windows suddenly, and really don't do a whole heck of a lot. It's a bit of a let down after such a generally creepy set up.

Filmmaker Nimrod Antal has a strong look and an obvious eye for creeping out his audience, but he seems to run out of ideas once his characters start running away. That doesn't mean he doesn't do what he can with the material. He makes the most of his limited setting, managing to find ways to avoid making the movie come across as being repetitive. He stages some sequences in a large variety of places around the motel, as well as a complex series of tunnels underneath the building that the villains use to get around. He is further aided by a game cast that help lift the material up a little bit from the B-grade junk it obviously is. Mainly known for his comedic work, Luke Wilson makes for a pretty decent everyman in the male lead. He seems genuinely unnerved as the realization of just how bad the situation is slowly dawns on him. As his wife, Kate Beckinsale is given slightly less to do until the final 10 minutes or so when she is forced to take control and fight for both of their survival. Until then, she mostly switches back and forth from being bitchy and irritable to being weepy and fearful. As the head of the whole shady motel operation, Frank Whaley is appropriately slimy, but much like the other villains, he is given very little to do once his role in the plot is revealed.

Vacancy has no notions of being anything but what it is - a somewhat enjoyable little piece of horror escapism that hits some good notes, but is far too slight and forgettable to leave much of an impression. It's not bad, but it is disappointing after a fairly strong opening half hour that hints at much more. The movie is brisk and well-made, at the very least. Still, I can't get over the notion that perhaps the film does it's job a bit too well at setting up an ominous atmosphere at the motel. I don't think anyone would be able to set foot there without expecting murderous masked madmen lurking about somewhere nearby. If you're trying to lure people into a death trap, I would suggest maybe using a somewhat more cheerful facade. Might attract more business. Couldn't hurt is all I'm saying.

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137 out of 213 people found the following review useful:

My Theatre Had No Vacancy

Author: walken_on_sunshine
20 April 2007

The theater was packed more so than usual and why not as Vacancy was a very entertaining thrillride.Kate Beckinsale is great in her first Horror film and Luke Wilson is great in pretty much his first serious role as these two squabbling spouses can feed off of each others talent.Remember when we had nothing but slasher movies being intentionally funny, you know the days where Jason X, Wrong Turn, Scream, Freddy vs Jason, and I Know What You Did Last Summer well that is slowly coming to an end as Vacancy aligns itself with Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Hills Have Eyes as a great serious slasher that doesn't have ridiculous humour or one liners.Vacancy has a simple enough storyline that has indeed been done before but the best thing about it is that unlike so many other slasher movies this one has a lot of character development as these characters aren't the typical teenager or cop whose name you don't remember or care about you know damn well who the Fox couple is, why they're having problems, and you end up rooting for them to survive.To say Vacancy is scary is a bit of a stretch but to say Vacancy is a great thriller would be about accurate.The storyline progresses at a fast pace but none of it is half @$$ed or out of nowhere everything makes sense in the end.Vacanc's pacing gets you're adrenaline pumping in the same way that any good quality thriller does.Vacancy has has a much more realistic and believable story as you know full well these killers are everyday people they aren't a monstrous man with a flesh disease like in Texas Chainsaw or House Of Wax and it's not some campy undead serial killer like Freddy Krueger or Jason Vorhees.I think what added to the effect of the creepy atmosphere was having pretty much the whole film take place at night as it really gave you a cold feeling that something was lurking out their.Again my only complaints are that the dialogue is sometimes not well delivered, the plot is at times over the top, and it borrows a lot of elements from Psycho and Saw.

The Good -Overall good acting -Doesn't rely solely on gore or jump scares -Good amount of character development -Excellent pace that keeps the adrenaline pumping

The Bad -Some bad line delivery -Plot tends to get a little over the top -Various horror clichés eg. the car breaks down

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95 out of 137 people found the following review useful:

Worth Checking In

Author: Simon Parker from United Kingdom
18 June 2007

Vacancy has Alfred Hitchcock's finger prints smeared all over it, in fact at several times, especially the quite nifty looking opening credits, seems a lot like a homage to the great horror maestro himself. Its true, that even many years after Hitchcok finished making movies, that his movie still stay in memory for longer than most of the recent Hollywood horror that has arrived. The Birds and Psycho are far more memorable than the House of Wax remake or The Reaping. Hitchcock's movies worked because he had great characterisation and also a great sense of atmosphere, you could sit and watch a Hitchcock movie and be terrified for half an hour before anything scary actually happens. The sense of foreboding and incredibly skilfully done atmosphere did that to an audience. Nowadays we get cheap jump out of your seat scares and torture scenes designed to sicken. Initially my thoughts towards seeing Vacancy were not great, the trailer looked alright, but my guess was it would just be another lame, modern slasher flick. So what a great surprise to say that Vacancy is a good little movie that actually has some genuine scares in it. The movie isn't gory, nor is it jumpy, the movie is unsettling and creepy. Now this is what a true horror movie should do in my eyes, if a movie can unsettle without resorting to jump scares then it is a success. Vacncay pulls this off, well it pulls this off for a majority of the time. The movie is an absolute success until the ending, at the ending it seems to flounder a bit and leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. But everything up until the ending is a joy to watch.

What surprised me most about Vacancy has to be the actual acting. When I saw the trailer and saw that Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson were the leading couple I nearly burst out laughing. For starters Luke Wilson is a comedy man, he's designed to make funny movies. Well when I say funny movies I mean if he has the right material as just recently I've found him as unfunny as can be. Kate Beckinsale just doesn't seem the type to be in a horror movie. But its this bizarre casting that pays off so well. Luke Wilson really proves himself in this movie, to the extent I want him to focus more on a serious acting career, he seems to be more at home here than he has in years with his comedy movies. Kate Beckinsale also proves herself admirably. The pair are believable, and you actually start to care for them. Wishing that they will escape the nightmare, hoping that they find a way out. Their performances are so much different from the usual stupid teenagers we see in horror movies today, its refreshing to see adults in this horrific situation. The villains of the movie are also quite menacing for the majority of the time, the hotel manager played by Frank Whaley is a good character. He's not on screen too often, but he does play a creepy little man very well.

So what of the scares then? Well as I've said the movie is at times pretty scary. Not for the first twenty minutes mind you, that is dedicated for set up and too increase the atmosphere. Those scenes work very well and once again its refreshing to see genuine character development in a horror movie, made better by the fact the two leads are great. However, the minute the couple enter the hotel room the focus shifts. Bangings on the wall and doors begin, the phone rings with nobody on the other end. From that point onwards the movie gets terrifying, the bangings on the wall really starts to creep you out at one point. Once the big bad secret about the motel is discovered, after watching some tapes, and the lights suddenly go out. The movie succeeds in terrifying. After the lights go out I guarantee you will be sitting on the edge of your seats. The movie does a couple of jump scares here and there, but it focuses mainly on the unseen terror. The minute the bangings stopped you aren't relieved, you're even more terrified because then you don't know what the people are up to. Its this sense of terror that makes the movie worthy of a recommendation. Its nice to see a horror movie try scaring and unsettling the audience once in a while. Its nothing a hardcore horror fan can't handle, but it definitely will unsettle the general population of people.

As I've said the movie isn't perfect. The ending being the major setback of the movie. After the brilliant set up, and the scary middle section, the ending seems to run out of steam. In fact it seemed like the writers wasn't sure what to do anymore and did a few obvious things and quickly ended the movie. It feels rushes and unlike the rest of the movie, unskillfully made. Its the ending that fails in making this a complete homage to Hitchcock, Hitchcock could deliver an ending, this movie doesn't really get an ending. The ending is enough to leave you satisfied, but in a movie that exceeds all expectations you expect more from the ending.

Vacancy is a good old fashioned horror/thriller. Its only let down by its pretty disappointing ending. The run time is pretty short, making the experience short and sharp enough to pack a real punch. Its really worth checking out just for the brilliant set up and middle section. But the ending really does make the movie suffer a little bit. Still this is definitely a good horror movie, and more horror movies made in this style would be a welcome relief.

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91 out of 134 people found the following review useful:

Tense, Suspenseful, and Solid Shocker.

Author: Mr_Ectoplasma from Oregon
28 April 2007

"Vacancy" is a suspenseful horror shocker that follows a young disputing couple on their way home from an anniversary party, Amy and David Fox (Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson), who have just recently lost a child and are about to enter a divorce. The bickering couple end up stranded outside a small service station in the middle of nowhere, and decide to to check into the Pinewood motel, a cheap little place for them to spend the night until they can get help the next morning. The quirky desk clerk gives them their room, and they find it to be a complete dump. But their dingy motel room is the least of their problems, when they find videotapes of homemade snuff movies where previous guests were filmed as they were brutally murdered. With a team of masked killers surrounding the entire motel, and every area under surveillance, Amy and David find themselves in a life-or-death struggle as they try and survive through the night.

If the plot summary for this movie sounds like something that interests you, you will more than likely enjoy this suspenseful horror flick. I went into "Vacancy" with pretty average expectations - I wasn't that wild about this movie when I'd first heard about it, but it sounded interesting enough so I decided to give it a try, and I'm glad I did. Unlike the vast majority of the horror junk that gets released lately, this film actually boasts an original and solidly-constructed premise. Take some elements from Hitchock's "Psycho" (was it just me, or were those opening credits played over with the Bernard Herrman-like score a direct reference to Hitchcock?), throw in some aspects from the "Saw" series, and tie things together in a tense little package, and you get "Vacancy". I was literally on the edge of my seat throughout almost the entire film, and found not one dull moment. Suspense and tension are the real kickers in this movie, and it is done very well. Lots of moody camera angles and some genuinely frightening sequences (take the underground cave scenes for example) add to the tense nature.

Our lead performers are Beckinsale and Wilson, both of whom turn in some great performances. Wilson plays the "husband hero" and Beckinsale is the "damsel in distress-gone fighting machine", and both capture this effectively. Their acting is believable, and I think that the writing has something to do with it as well, because their characters are written really well. They're not your typical genre morons who drop to the floor when the killer approaches, they are much more real. They make good decisions and the right moves, which makes them much more credible and realistic, winning over the audiences sympathy rather easily. There were some heart-pumping fight sequences as well between the heroes and the villains, which were well executed and had you rooting for Beckinsale and Wilson. The ending was a little uneven I have to admit, but compared to the tense hour and twenty-five minutes before it, it doesn't come close to bringing the movie down.

Overall, "Vacancy" is an original horror flick that is heavy on suspense, while not so heavy on bloodshed. The claustrophobic atmosphere and the tense build up in this movie is it's real charm, and it will have you on the edge of your seat, anxious to see what will happen next. It's the way a thriller should be done, and makes for an enjoyable late-night fright fest. Exceeded my expectations and went beyond. 9/10.

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70 out of 100 people found the following review useful:

'Vacancy' is skillfully made, tense and surprisingly scary

Author: moviesfan11 ( from DG, IL
29 April 2007

Vacancy;; Vacancy opens as a typical horror film, following a soon to be divorced couple, Amy and David Fox, driving down a winding road, in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. Car troubles lead them to an abandoned motel where the manager informs them the mechanic will be back early in the morning. He seems friendly at first, and offers them a discount on the Honeymoon suite. Amy is resistant, but David convinces her.

Amy's first impression of the Motel was right on target, as a series of creepy events lead David and Amy to watch a video tape in which various guests at the same hotel are murdered. Soon after, David finds hidden cameras in the vents. Suddenly, the lights go out, and David and Amy must fight to find a way to escape... or end up getting slaughtered on tape like everyone else.

I am an avid horror movie fan, although lately I have run into the problem of not getting scared during these so called "scary movies." I am pleased to report, not just to horror film fans, but movie fans alike, Vacancy is actually scary. And that is just about the biggest compliment a movie such as this could get.

Throughout the 80 minute running time of Vacancy, I jumped a few times, gasped once or twice, and had white knuckles for almost the entire time. Luke Wilson and Kate Bekinsale give good performances as the bickering victims, and direction is particularly well-done. Director Nimrod Antal makes a wise choice, veering from torture, blood and guts, and relying mostly on putting these characters we care about in taut, tense situations.

Vacancy is a fun, frightening horror movie. 3 from 4.

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84 out of 139 people found the following review useful:

A couple checked in to a motel, will they check out ?

Author: richshire from Canada
21 April 2007

Vacancy is a shot of thriller mix with a shot of horror served straight up,no ice, in room temperature. A great great movie for this type of genre OBVIOUSLY not for everyone, but if you are a fan and feel a little down about many other so called horror, thriller movies that are simply S*@T, movies that are relying on fancy special effects or remakes of other films from the past or different country LATELY, well, this would be the one movie you won't feel crappy paying full price for.

Luke Wilson and Kate Beckensale ( perfect cast ) play a couple who check into a motel after a long drive,the rest is an intense ride That will glue you eyes to the screen.I see the movie as a tribute to the 70's thriller/horror/action ( home invasion, psychotic killer type of films )You can see this right from the opening credits. There are moments where Vacancy could go bad and disappointing ( I was actually waiting for it )but it did not ( a bit on the ending being cliché, but I was OK to give it a pass ).WELL DIRECTED, WELL CAST, AND WELL SHOT.

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53 out of 81 people found the following review useful:

There Was No Vacancy In The Theater!

Author: rom_sade from Tel Aviv, Israel
20 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Yes, the theater was full of people that loved it! I had the luck to watch this at the theaters. in a really early screening, here in Israel.

Where "Disturbia" microwaved elements of "Rear Window," the terse, relentless "Vacancy" borrows more sparingly from "Psycho," which also was set in a seedy West Coast motel where guests have a tendency to never check out.

"Vacancy" sneaks into your brain from the get-go by skillfully exploiting several elements: the urban myth about the couple that watches some porn in a fleabag motel and suddenly realizes they are the porn stars, the paranoia of characters who think they're being watched (and they're right, since we are watching them) and our awareness of previous movies with similar mayhem.

Specifically, I'm talking about "Psycho," which "Vacancy" nods to in ways both small (the stuffed birds that appear everywhere, the use of mirrors, the look- and sound-alike opening credits) and large (the stalking of motel-bound characters, which relies less on gore than on mounting, claustrophobic suspense).

Casting Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale in the lead roles is the first sign that "Vacancy" is smarter than the average horror movie. They're terrific as a bickering couple who get stranded in a dump where the night manager (Frank Whaley) might as well greet them with, "Good evening. I hope your room will prove satisfactory until I get around to snuffing you out and videotaping it." We know just enough about the couple to root for them as they're stalked by masked maniacs, but what drives "Vacancy" is its ingenious premise, from which director Nimrod Antal - who made the fine Hungarian thriller "Kontroll" ("Control") - wrings every ounce of tension. "Control" is a good word for him. Antal has done a clever job of imagining the story in visual terms, right down to the way he frames the unlucky road trippers. Early on, as they snipe at each other, they're always separated by something (a wall, a mirror), even when they're together. But adversity forces them to cooperate, and, in the final scenes, the camera offers us some hope: At last, these Bickersons are depicted together in the frame, fighting for their lives.

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28 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

The Makers Trust Your Intelligence

Author: (piccolo300000) from United States
15 June 2008

They don't make you feel stupid, they give you something that seems real. There isn't any sugar coating, no senseless nudity, just a claustrophobic atmosphere and tense build up that will have you on the edge of your seat, anxious to see what will happen next. It's the way a movie should be done, and makes for a satisfying late fright night.

A thrilling horror shocker that follows a quarreling married couple, David and Amy Fox (Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale) that end up breaking down in the middle of nowhere and have to walk a few miles to a gas station/motel. The strange and creepy manager gives them the "honeymoon suite." The room is, of course, the worst motel room you will ever see, cockroaches, no TV channels come in, etc. With nothing to do, David begins watching the videotapes(snuff films) in the room. They both begin to discover that the films are real and were filmed in their room. They find themselves in a life or death situation and try everything possible to survive the night. If you liked the trailer and the synopsis or any of the actors, you will definitely find that you like this movie. When I first saw a trailer for the movie, I thought it looked good, but was a little hesitant because of the way that horror movies are made today (gore and bore). This film has a very good plot and is solid in structure. Even though you do not get the full back story of the characters, you get their painful story through the excellent writing. In the beginning, you don't quite get why they fight or seem to "hate" each other, but it doesn't take long to understand (maybe 15 minutes counting the beginning montage of credits). I was literally on the edge of my seat throughout almost the entire film, and found not one dull moment. Suspense and tension are the real deal in this movie, and it is done incredibly well. Lots of excellent camera angles and authentic startling sequences add to the tense nature of the film. The characters seem very genuine and real, the relationship between the main two characters is portrayed extremely well. Wilson and Beckinsale come off as a real couple with a history. Their acting is extremely believable, and the writing of the characters is done extremely well. Another great thing is that they aren't your typical brainless genre characters who get naked and drop to the floor when the killer approaches, they are much more real. They do everything that you expect that you would do if you were in their situation. They make good decisions, which make them much more realistic, winning sympathy rather easily. There are heart-pumping fight sequences, which were well executed and will make you cross your fingers for Beckinsale and Wilson. There are also tender moments that will add to your root for them. By the end you will want them to stick it to that manager for everything he's done and for a reconciliation between the two main characters. I enjoyed it ten fold, but you'll have to watch it to see whether they make it in the end.

Overall, Vacancy is an original psychological thriller that is heavy on suspense, while not so heavy on bloodshed.

The movie does contain a far amount of vulgar language. I would recommend this movie. Your missing out if you don't see it.

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37 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

Vacancy just doesn't capture what it could have.

Author: c_p_c from U.S.A.
24 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Supposedly their actual existence is debatable, but snuff films could be reduced to urban legend status. Still, this world has some dark corners, so I wouldn't put it out of mind completely. Nevertheless, the idea of people getting pleasure from filming live murders and torture is frightening. However, as much as it could be, 'Vacancy' is not.

The idea for this film is not fully realized and instead it's reduced to a cat and mouse chase that becomes all to predictable. Beyond the initial viewing of the snuff tapes (left intentionally in the room by the manager), which is probably the film's most intense scene, the couple runs from room to room as they attempt to get away, which the film makes too easy for them at times.

The real issue lies with the lack of details in the workings of the villains and motel. It appears we have three men who do nothing more than check people into a room and kill them soon after. They do very little to toy with their minds. No mystery about the villains exists. The hotel manager is the only one afforded any time for development and it is all far too superficial. What is needed is some more for the villains to do. I doubt that after doing this for as long as they have, their methods would be as primitive and mundane as displayed here.

The always beautiful Beckinsale and seemingly aloof Wilson, who manages to sidestep his usual goof-ball role, do what they can with what they are given. Aside from an opening scene where they lay out the status of their marriage, they are given very little time for further development--outside of the typical "I love you now that we have been through something awful." All in all, a very mediocre film that could have been so much more with a reworking. Also, if you do see this film, see if you can spot the moment when the script writers had no other ideas on where to go next. It's obvious.

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