Thursday, June 30, 2011

#328. Vacancy (2007)

Directed By: Nimród Antal

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Luke Wilson, Frank Whaley

Tag line: "Once you've checked in... The terror begins."

Trivia:  Sarah Jessica Parker was originally selected for the film, but dropped out and was replaced by Kate Beckinsale

The opening title sequence of 2007's Vacancy sports a very classical, almost Hitchcockian look, which I found appropriate seeing as this film reminded me of one of the great director's best works. And believe me, if Psycho didn't scare you away from lonely motels situated in the middle of nowhere, Vacancy sure as hell will! 

When their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, David (Luke Wilson) and Amy (Kate Beckinsale), a married couple who aren't exactly on the best of terms as of late, check into a roadside motel. After getting the key to the “Honeymoon Suite” from the quirky motel manager (Frank Whaley), David and Amy kick back and prepare for what they hope will be a comfortable evening. To unwind, David turns on the television, and when he's unable to get any reception at all, he instead watches a videotape he found sitting on top of the TV. At first glance, the tape appears to contain a horror film, but as the two will soon learn, the horror on these particular videos is all too real. 

Vacancy is tense with a capital “T”, and even the opening scenes, where David and Amy are traveling down a dark back road, prove quite stressful. Though little time is spent on their backstory, Vacancy hints at the fact that the couple recently suffered the loss of a child. As a result, they're barely on speaking terms, and when they do talk, it's usually to cast an insult in the others direction. When David swerves to avoid hitting a raccoon, a startled Amy says, quite sarcastically, “Well, better to kill us then get road kill on the car, huh?”.  From exchanges such as these, it becomes painfully clear that David and Amy really don't want to be around each other right now, and there are times when we can cut the tension between the two with a knife. Naturally, things go from bad to worse when they check into the motel. First, the phone rings, and when Amy answers, there's nobody on the other end. Then, a loud bang comes from just outside. David investigates, but sees no one. These events repeat themselves almost instantly, a phone call followed by a knock at the door, only much more intensely the second time around. The film hadn't even kicked it into high gear yet, and I found myself on the edge of my seat. It's the start of what will be a very terrifying night for the young couple, one that gets a whole lot worse the minute David pops that tape into the VCR. 

The suspense in Vacancy is occasionally unbearable, especially once David and Amy are able to put two and two together. At times unrelenting in the sheer terror it generates, Vacancy will get under your skin, and in a big, big way.


Anonymous said...

11 horror picks-thats a feat! super show. i really like some of the new personalities brought on board specifically corey and mummy.

vacancy was a good horror movie glad to see you getting more modern recently. i love the classics too.

Dave Becker said...

Glad you enjoyed the show, and I'll be sure to pass your comments along. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Yeah, I like to "mix it up", so to speak, and am finding some pretty good movies in the modern mix. But the classics will always be my favorite :)

Thanks for the comment, and for listening to Horror Jungle.

Anonymous said...

Props on the launch Horror Jungle, glad it's finally here and I loved the 1st show,

Vacancy was a decent horror movie but to be honest I though Beckingsale is better in Underworld. Part 4 is coming soon.

Dave Becker said...

So glad you enjoyed Horror Jungle, and thanks for listening!

I liked Kate Beckinsale in UNDERWORLD as well, though she was pretty strong in VACANCY. I can't say which performance I prefer because it's been a while since I've seen UNDERWORLD (like about 7 years), so I'll have to check it out some time soon.

And thanks for the update on #4. It's nice to see she's returning to the series!

Take care, and thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

hi doctor im back today and this movie sounds terrorfying asyou explained i will search it out per your review

miguel pr

Dave Becker said...

@Miguel: Thanks for stopping back! And yes, I would definitely classify VACANCY as a nail-biter.

Hope you enjoy it, and be sure to stop back and let me know what your thoughts are when you get a chance to see it.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

taking the new pod for the drive with us on a mini family vacation we are taking for july 4th - cant wait to hear it - gobstopper

Dave Becker said...

@Gobstopper: Thanks for stopping by. Please be sure to let us know what you think of the show when you return!

Have a great holiday, and a safe trip!

Anonymous said...

to Dr Shock and the rest of the Horror Jungle hosts - Y'all are impressive critics and you have a "grand" horror podcast in the making.

i appreciate that the blathering Gregamortis got booted. as amazing as Planet Macabre was that bumbling idiot took the show down a notch.

i will be a permanent member of the show and I will catch you in the Jungle / Axel Rose j/k Tony.

Dave Becker said...

@Tony: Thanks so much for stopping by, and we'e glad you enjoyed the show!

I'll be sure to pass your remarks on to everyone. See you in the jungle!

Take care, and thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm Divyana from India and bin longtime follow of planet macabre: : wen to horror jungle and it real good : I buy lot of horror movie and now get lot more: I thank you for podcast:

Dave Becker said...

@Divyana: Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the comment.

We're glad you enjoyed the show, and hopefully you'll like the movies just as much.

Thanks for listening!

Anonymous said...

excellent "sneaky" type thriller..might just make others think twice of stopping at a motel..

Dave Becker said...

Thanks for the comment, and it is, as you say, a "sneaky" thriller!

As for making others think twice before checking into a motel, I know that's how I'll react!

Thanks for stopping by.