Horror Movie Review: Vacancy (2007)

Vacancy is a horror/thriller film that was directed by Nimród Antal. Releasing in 2007, it stars Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson.

David & Amy are on the verge of signing divorce papers. They’re in the middle of a cross-country drive when their car begins to have troubles and breaks down after taking a wrong turn. Their phone has no reception so the only option is to walk back to a motel they recently stopped at.

When they arrive, there are no cars in the parking lot. At the office, they hear loud screams coming from the back room. The motel manager appears and explains that the noises are coming from the television. They book a room for the night after an awkward exchange.

The room is grimy but they decide that it’s better than sleeping in the car. Soon, they begin to her loud bangs coming from the adjacent room. Then, they receive prank phone calls. David complains to the manager who insists that they are his only customers. Back in the room, David watches some videotapes that were left on top of their room’s TV. At first they seem to be horror movies. However, David realizes that they are snuff films that were made in their room. He searches the room, finds hidden security cameras and concludes that they are being watched.

They flee the room and head for the woods but are confronted by two men dressed in blue and wearing masks. This forces them to return to the room and lock the door.

What will they do? Can they survive? Check out Vacancy to find out.

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Vacancy doesn’t exactly offer much in terms of originality. The mid-late 00s seemed to be a popular time for these type of films. There was Hostel 1 & 2 in 2005 and 2007 respectively. Then there was The Strangers in 2008 which is pretty similar to Vacancy. It just doesn’t offer much that you haven’t seen before and is filled with clichés. Still, all of that doesn’t mean that it’s an outright bad film. In fact, it’s fairly decent. The concept is effective and there are some intense moments throughout. I really liked the performances.

My biggest issue is with the characters themselves. You just learn little to nothing about them. We know they are getting divorced but it’s never properly explained why. Yes, there are hints and you can figure it out but it just feels lazy and tacked on. These types of horror movies depend on people making dumb choices. Unfortunately, Vacancy is no different. I know it’s risky but why not just leg it into the night? There’s a massive forest nearby. The killers are human and cannot see in the dark. I felt there were ample opportunities to attempt this.

The gore is pretty safe and minimal. After all, this is a “Hollywood” style horror film. You could say it’s more realistic though. I would have liked to see the killers suffer a bit more than they do. They certainly deserved it and get off too easy for me. Also, the ending of Vacancy feels super rushed. Nothing feels properly wrapped up and it even makes a weird attempt at ending things in a happy way. I’m not against happy endings in horror movies but this just made little sense. The abrupt closing left me feeling more unsatisfied than anything.




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