DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
VACANCY (director: Nimród Antal; screenwriter: Mark L. Smith; cinematographer: Andrzej Sekula; editor: Armen Minasian; music: Paul Haslinger; cast: Luke Wilson (David Fox), Kate Beckinsale (Amy Fox), Frank Whaley (Mason), Ethan Embry (the Mechanic), David Doty (Highway Patrol); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Hal Lieberman; Screen Gems; 2007)

 
"An unpleasant and hardly entertaining creepy horror road movie that comes up as vacant as an empty room."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An unpleasant and hardly entertaining creepy horror road movie that comes up as vacant as an empty room. Nimród Antal (Kontroll) directs and the writer is Mark L. Smith. The only thing this trite thriller has going for it is plenty of gore. Supposedly the pleasure it offers is that the violent pervs get taken down in the third act by their vics.

Amy and David Fox (Kate Beckinsale & Luke Wilson) are an unhappy verbally sparring couple lost late at night and with car trouble get stuck in the middle of nowhere after riding off the Interstate. They are forced to stay in a seedy motel that unknown to them has hidden cameras in all the rooms. The innocents are unaware that the creepy motel manager (Frank Whaley) is operating a snuff-film ring and is helped by a sleazy local (Ethan Embry) posing as a car mechanic. 

With the beleaguered couple trapped in the motel by their demented tormentors, it becomes a nail-biter whether they'll survive the night. The technically efficient B film thriller is filled with gratuitous violence and should appeal mostly to cheap thrill seekers with a stomach for excessive brutality and a mindset for trash. It's a wannabe old-fashioned Hitchcock thriller (supposedly aiming for a Psycho-like setting) that turns out to be nothing more than a tawdry bloody slasher film with no redeeming social value. Its message seems to be that one should never late at night get off the Interstate for the scenic route. Its subliminal message might well be that if at home to not bother watching junky films like this if they are on cable late at night when most anything else is preferable--like sleep.
 
REVIEWED ON 10/1/2008        GRADE: C-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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