Vacancy (2007) Movie Review
Written By: JEH
Director: Nimród Antal
Producers: Hal Lieberman
Writers: Mark L. Smith
Date Released: April 20, 2007
Luke Wilson as David Fox
Kate Beckinsale as Amy Fox
Frank Whaley as Mason
Ethan Embry as the Mechanic
Scott G. Anderson as the Killer
Rating = 3.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
David (Luke Wilson) and Amy Fox (Kate Beckinsale) find themselves stranded when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Forced to wait for the mechanic until morning, they decide to stay the night in a motel. To unwind, David decides to watch slasher movies provided by the motel for entertainment. But he soon realizes that the slasher movies are real and that their room is filled with hidden cameras. David and Amy must find a way out before they become the newest stars of a snuff film.
The film centers on a disturbing topic: snuff films. So of course, there will be a lot of killing. However, this does not mean that the film features a lot of gore. As David watches the snuff films, the audience can hear the terror of the victims, which is pretty convincing. But when it comes to the actual murders, the film conveniently cuts to David and Amy instead of showing how it happens. When they do show the murders, the killers block the view and we just hear stabbing noises. Blood is barely present in the movie, nothing that would shock the audience.
The Grave Review
Amy and David are on their way home from a family reunion when their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. They find a motel and decide to stay the night until the car mechanic returns the next day. David then decides to watch some tapes, thinking that they’re just random slasher movies. But after viewing multiple tapes, the couple realizes that the events happened in the room that they rented and they’re the next snuff film stars. While this plot sounds very generic, the execution makes the movie special.
After Amy and David figure out that they’re in trouble, they do not waste time and immediately think of a way to get out. Usually, in horror movies, the audience feels frustration towards the characters because they keep on getting themselves in avoidable situations. But even when under immense fear, Amy and David try to remain rational. Their decisions are somewhat realistic and can actually help them survive.
The main villain is effective in instilling fear. One particular scene that gives viewers a subtle scare is when Amy and David approach the reception area. They meet the receptionist, Mason (Frank Whaley), while a woman screaming in terror is heard in the background. Apparently, he has been watching “films” to pass time. Although this is a tiny detail, it gives the audience a sense of danger. Frank Whaley did the character justice. He portrays the creepy little man role well, but he can also be an intimidating presence in the blink of an eye.
Mason might be the mastermind, but we see more of his accomplices: the mechanic and another masked man. They wear masks for intimidation, but it is not 100% effective in scaring audiences. The pair is forgettable, and their presence only scares audiences because they do the killing.
The atmosphere for the entirety of the movie is claustrophobic. It is commendable that tension is consistent throughout the movie. There’s no dull moment and every scene matters.
The snuff films have a little screen time, but they are also well-directed and creepy. They add to the claustrophobic feel of the film and make you wonder just how many people suffered in that motel?
What drags Vacancy (2007) down is its ending. Amy and David are both likable characters and you’ll want to see them survive. However, in a movie that builds up suspense perfectly, it is a little bit disappointing to see it end the way it ends. Imagine getting so high up a rollercoaster but you don’t get the dive you want. Unfortunately, this makes the movie overlooked. It just doesn’t have a lasting effect on viewers. But don’t let this discourage you from seeing this hidden gem.
If you’re looking for a good suspense that will have you on the edge of your seat, you should watch Vacancy (2007). This movie will satisfy your need for a thriller done right and horror characters that think.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Vacancy (2007) three and a half graves out of five Graves.
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