Vacancy - Check Out of This

Duration: 90min
Category: horror
Available: On DVD
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I have often said that the most important element to any movie is the story and I think Vacancy is a good example of that. I donít care how great the director is, how good the performances are, how interesting the ideas are, if there is no good story there is no good movie. Vacancy proves my point.

At the heart of Vacancy is a great idea for a thriller. Hotel in the middle of nowhere, stranded travellers in the middle of night, snuff film producers taking advantage. Like Hostel itís a great idea for getting into the scariest and darkest parts of human nature. Also, like Hostel the idea is wasted in a crappy movie.

Itís not really the directorís fault. The unfortunately named Nimrod Antal shows a lot of promise in the clever way he shot this story. I love what he does with mirrors in the beginning. He really makes you feel the distance between his characters. He also manages a few creepy visuals that get beyond the usual slasher film clichťs. But heís working with this script and even his apparent promise doesnít save such drivel.

You canít even really blame it on the leads. Unlike the usual B-listers that populate the horror genreís casting call, weíve got almost Aís Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale. Sure, they arenít Robert DeNiro and Meryl Streep but theyíre decent actors and they donít embarrass themselves here. Itís the script and the story that is embarrassing.

This idea just isnít executed well. Itís like the writers just couldnít find a believable way to keep these two trapped in the hotel. They were numerous times that this couple could have run away and yet they kept running back to their room, a room they knew to be a death trap.

But the worst part is how Vacancy sputters out near the end. Suddenly two of the three menaces are easily disposed of. So much for that threat. The obligatory last battle of wills between plucky heroine and evil villain leader is pointlessly drug out while managing to create no real suspense. The only thing this fight scene generates is a whole lot of the villain screaming ďyou stupid bitch!Ē Screenwriters everywhere are rolling in their graves.

There is a silly bit where 911 is dialled, a cop shows up only to be disposed of too quickly, and thenÖ nothing. Do these film makers actually believe that the police send an officer out to check out a 911 call and donít send out more when he doesnít check in or return?

Then, the final straw is how ridiculous the last scene gets. Itís the kind of moment that makes an audience scream out, ďcome on!Ē Itís an insult.

A bad script sinks a film no matter what. Donít believe me, waste your money on Vacancy and see for your self.

Review By: Collin Smith

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