Dir. Nimrod Antal. USA. 2007.

Talking Pictures alias







About Us


I am a funny kind of horror movie viewer.  I'm squeamish, hate seeing people suffer (even when I know it's fictional) and my heart always races even through the title sequence when nothing more scary has happened than peoples names moving along the screen. But for some reason. I love watching them. And I sit here a shaking wreck after just having watched Vacancy, I can tell you it's one of the better ones I've seen.

The fillm begins with David (Luke Wilson) and Amy Fox (Kate Beckinsale), a married couple who's relationship is in turmoil after the loss of their son, driving along in the middle of the night, and it transpires they are lost. They pull into a petrol station and ask the man to help them, which he does. A couple of miles along the road the car breaks down and David remembers they saw a motel (conveniently!) by the garage, so they go and ask the ridiculously creepy looking manager when the mechanic will be back. As it is not until morning, they relunctantly decide to stay in the Twenty-First century's answer to the Bates Motel.

Their room is horrible, there are cockroaches running around and the tap runs muddy. However they are greatful for a place to stay and are just starting to accept the disgusting surroundings when they find films of people being brutally murdered set in a very familiar setting. Their motel room.

The thing that really sets this appart from other films is the leading couple. Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale make you really care about these characters and want them to succeed. They are a lot more three dimensional than the average characters in a film like this. They are also a lot more clever. Obviously if men were trying to kill you in a motel room where there was apparently no way out then your brain wouldn't be funcitoning entirely normally, but in the case of David and Amy, they made significantly fewer mistakes than a lot of people would have done. 

The acting is brilliant,which really helped to convey the history and feeling between the two of them quickly,which was important as there wasn't a lot of screen time dedicated to revealing their backstory. I've said it before and i'll say it again - the motel manager, played by Frank Whaley, is terrfically creepy. In a film with such a small cast, having a villain just as scary as he was, is a lot more effective than teems of blood sucking zombies.

Vacany is often wrongly classified as a 'Slasher', it's not, there is very little 'slashing'. This film get its screams from tension building. Right from the beginning, where the mechanic jumps up, there is no respite. There is a lot borrowed from 'The Bumper Book of Horror Movie Cliches', the creepy hotel, no signal on their mobiles, car trouble etc. But with very clever direction, these things become just as scary to watch in this film as the very first time you ever saw them.

The only thing that takes away from the brilliance of Vacancy, is the ending. It really does undo all the work Nimrod Antal has done in making the film as credible as possible. But it still isn't enough to take away from how scary the whole of the rest of the film is and how it took a good half an hour for me to start to breath normally again. A must-see.

Chloe Walker

Search this site or the web        powered by FreeFind
Site searchWeb search
   Home | News | Features
    Book Reviews | About Us