Action / Horror / Thriller


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November 10, 2012 at 04:19 AM



Kate Beckinsale as Amy Fox
Ethan Embry as Mechanic
Luke Wilson as David Fox
Frank Whaley as Mason
720p 1080p
650.35 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 25 min
P/S 4 / 19
1.30 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 25 min
P/S 6 / 20

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by keiichi73 6 / 10

Has its moments, but fails to leave a mark

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.

Reviewed by walken_on_sunshine 9 / 10

My Theatre Had No Vacancy

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 cliches eg. the car breaks down

Reviewed by Simon Parker 7 / 10

Worth Checking In

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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