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Wednesday April 18, 2007 6:52 pm

Vacancy Leaves Fans Empty




Posted by K.C. Morgan Categories: Sony, Horror, New Releases,

Neon Motel SignA dark, somewhat eerie night. A strange, somewhat scary locale. A couple with a broken-down car. Either this is a classic B-movie horror setup, or we’re about to be treated to a fabulous cult classic. Many, many movies have used the same premise – a handful have even created memorable screen drama with this same scene, but it’s even more ambitious for horror filmmakers to use a plot that’s been brilliantly, and totally, done before. If nothing else, Vacancy is at least a very ambitious flick. It’s not easy to take the same old plot that’s worn thin and present it to movie-goers as though it’s something new - in fact, it’s quite courageous. Scary, weird old hotel in the middle of nowhere, travelers with no place else to go, a spooky and offbeat proprietor…this movie could have gone a lot of ways. But, Vacancy is no Psycho.

Read More | Hollywood Reporter

Reviews are in, and Vacancy is giving fans reason to check out of theatres. The setup: Luke Wilson is David Fox, Kate Beckinsdale is Amy Fox. Their son is dead, their marriage falling apart. But their car is falling apart in a tangible sense, so they are forced to go to the nearest hotel to stay the night. Here fans are treated to a sort of scummy, scuzzy, low-budget-feeling bunch of cinematography that displays the run-down digs. In an odd sort of irony that does little to deliver a punchline, the couple beds down in the honeymoon suite. While the appointments are a little dirty and out of date, there is a nice VCR and television set just begging to be used - at least the room comes with awesome amenities. Apparently, this particular couple didn’t see The Ring – they pop in one of the unknown videos from a convenient stack by the TV, and sit down to enjoy. A movie about a couple watching movies in a nasty little rented room. The plot twists just keep on coming.

The movie, naturally, turns out to be an incredibly low-budget horror flick, replete with all the blood, gore, and slashing any B-movie lover could ever want. As the events on screen unfold, the couple realizes – much to their shock – that what they’re watching is actually a snuff film that was shot in their very hotel room! And so the stage is set for terror.

Critics are cheerfully bashing the film in new reviews, citing unoriginality and cheap thrills as their main complaints. The gory moments and silly-looking villains do more to insult viewers than draw them in, as they watch the couple onscreen climb into tight places and attempt to free themselves from the snare that is this particular hotel. For nearly the entire eighty-five minutes of screen time, viewers will be treated to a shrieky score, too much gore, an increasingly tired and unbelievable plot, and (of course) Beckinsdale’s bad acting (no one is forgetting the debacle that was Pearl Harbor, Kate).

When plans for the flick were first fleshed out, Sarah Jessica Parker was to star alongside Wilson, but was mysteriously replaced by Beckinsdale in late 2006. Right now, Parker is sitting somewhere going “Whew! That was close.”

Not to say that Vacancy won’t get its fair share of viewers. After all, doesn’t everybody love a gory B-movie?

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