Urban Cinefile
"Hollywood is a place where people from Iowa mistake each other for stars."  -Fred Allen
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday December 3, 2019 

Search SEARCH FOR A DVD
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

VACANCY: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
David (Luke Wilson) and Amy Fox's (Kate Beckinsale) marriage is over and when their car breaks down on a back road in the middle of nowhere, they are forced to spend the night at an isolated motel, managed by the eccentric Mason (Frank Whalley). But when they play one of the videos in their room, they realize the slasher movies on tape have all been filmed in the room in which they are sitting. Surrounded by hidden cameras that are filming their every move, David and Amy have to find a way out and escape from whoever is watching them.

Review by Louise Keller:
A far cry from director Nimród Antal's last film Kontroll, whose setting in Budapest's subway provided a chilling backdrop, Vacancy is a far more predictable experience. I was somewhat surprised to read that writer Mark L. Smith had been chewing over this slasher horror movie concept for eight years: there is little that feels new. However, the set up delivers plenty of anticipation and Antal keeps the tension at a high pitch throughout, until the final act explodes in a gorefest of far-fetched heavy handedness. Essentially, Vacancy is a moderately entertaining variation on a theme, using a remote setting as a backdrop on which to convey its terrifying tale.

The opening scene in which Kate Beckinsale's Amy and Luke Wilson's David are driving in the wee small hours in the middle of nowhere are superb. It is 1.25am and the road is desolate. The tension between the newly estranged couple is immediate as they bicker from the start. Their fractured relationship is magnified by the fact we see parts of their faces in the side and rear mirrors. After swerving so as not to hit a racoon wandering across the road, the car inevitably breaks down and there seems no choice but to take a room at the nearby motel. Our introduction to Frank Whalley's Mason, the weirdo motel-manager is one of the film's most memorable, and before long we know what the 'extras' that are on offer in the honeymoon suite that he offers the tired travellers at no extra charge.

An effective sound scape keeps us on the edge of our seats, and the most frightening moments are those involving shadows, ringing telephones and pounding on the door. As David and Amy discover the nasty video tapes and realise their own plight, there is a feeling of claustrophobia, heightened by their attempts to escape. But with a plot that has little substance, director Antal has an uphill battle to maintain the tension, and the finale becomes manufactured high drama as it clumsily tries to come to a full stop. Most frustrating is the fact that there is no resolution, so we are left with no explanation or rhyme or reason for any of it.

DVD special features include a behind the scenes featurette, alternate opening sequence, and a collection of extended versions of the snuff films from the movie

Published December 20, 2007

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

VACANCY: DVD (MA15+)
(US/Canada 2007)

CAST: Kate Beckinsale, Luke Wilson, Frank Whaley, Ethan Embry, Scott G. Anderson

PRODUCER: Hal Lieberman

DIRECTOR: Nimród Antal

SCRIPT: Mark L. Smith

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrzej Sekula

EDITOR: Armen Minasian

MUSIC: Paul Haslinger

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jon Gary Steele

RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 30, 2007

PRESENTATION: Widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Checking In: The Cast and Crew of Vacancy, behind-the-scenes feature on the making of the movie, Alternate Opening Sequence, Mason¹s Video Picks: Extended Snuff Films -- a collection of extended versions of the snuff films from the movie

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: December 19, 2007







Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2019