David and Amy Fox find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere when their car breaks down. Luckily, they come across a motel with a TV to entertain them during their overnight stay. However, there's something very strange and familiar about the Grade-Z slasher movies that the motel broadcasts for its guests' enjoyment. They all appear to be filmed in the very same room they occupy! Realizing that they are trapped in their room with hidden cameras now aimed at them filming their every move, David and Amy desperately find a means of escape through locked doors, crawlspaces and underground tunnels before they too become the newest stars of the mystery filmmaker's next cult classic!Written by
Writer Mark L. Smith stated that he used to live in Colorado with his wife and they would frequently drive down to New Mexico. During these drives, they would see all these isolated motels in the middle of nowhere that never seemed to have any customers. Smith started to wonder how these empty motels stayed in business, and that is how he came up with the idea of an isolated motel that was actually a front for selling snuff films of its travelling guests. Smith also mentioned that New Mexico was the original setting for the film; however, this is not made apparent in the film, as the location of the Pinewood Motel is never exactly specified. It is still entirely possible that the Pinewood is located in New Mexico as it is mentioned that David and Amy live in California. The Pinewood could also be located near the Sierra Nevadas in California or Nevada, as it is mentioned to be "by the mountains" and David and Amy are apparently on the last leg of their trip. The film's prequel, Vacancy 2: The First Cut, also written by Smith, is mentioned to take place in North Carolina, but it is never specified whether the motel in that film is the Pinewood. North Carolina is also home to the Appalachian Mountains, which would fit the description of "by the mountains". See more »
Early in the movie, when David looks out the outside door of the room, he leaves the door ajar while checking the banging coming from the door inside the room. When a long shot shows the whole room, the outside door is closed. See more »
[after swerving while driving]
Son of a bitch!
What are you doing?
It was a goddamn raccoon in the middle of the road!
Well, better to kill us than get a little roadkill on the car, huh?
Well, we're still alive. I can tell by the pissy look that you're giving me.
See more »
"Vacancy" is a suspenseful horror shocker that follows a young disputing couple on their way home from an anniversary party, Amy and David Fox (Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson), who have just recently lost a child and are about to enter a divorce. The bickering couple end up stranded outside a small service station in the middle of nowhere, and decide to to check into the Pinewood motel, a cheap little place for them to spend the night until they can get help the next morning. The quirky desk clerk gives them their room, and they find it to be a complete dump. But their dingy motel room is the least of their problems, when they find videotapes of homemade snuff movies where previous guests were filmed as they were brutally murdered. With a team of masked killers surrounding the entire motel, and every area under surveillance, Amy and David find themselves in a life-or-death struggle as they try and survive through the night.
If the plot summary for this movie sounds like something that interests you, you will more than likely enjoy this suspenseful horror flick. I went into "Vacancy" with pretty average expectations - I wasn't that wild about this movie when I'd first heard about it, but it sounded interesting enough so I decided to give it a try, and I'm glad I did. Unlike the vast majority of the horror junk that gets released lately, this film actually boasts an original and solidly-constructed premise. Take some elements from Hitchock's "Psycho" (was it just me, or were those opening credits played over with the Bernard Herrman-like score a direct reference to Hitchcock?), throw in some aspects from the "Saw" series, and tie things together in a tense little package, and you get "Vacancy". I was literally on the edge of my seat throughout almost the entire film, and found not one dull moment. Suspense and tension are the real kickers in this movie, and it is done very well. Lots of moody camera angles and some genuinely frightening sequences (take the underground cave scenes for example) add to the tense nature.
Our lead performers are Beckinsale and Wilson, both of whom turn in some great performances. Wilson plays the "husband hero" and Beckinsale is the "damsel in distress-gone fighting machine", and both capture this effectively. Their acting is believable, and I think that the writing has something to do with it as well, because their characters are written really well. They're not your typical genre morons who drop to the floor when the killer approaches, they are much more real. They make good decisions and the right moves, which makes them much more credible and realistic, winning over the audiences sympathy rather easily. There were some heart-pumping fight sequences as well between the heroes and the villains, which were well executed and had you rooting for Beckinsale and Wilson. The ending was a little uneven I have to admit, but compared to the tense hour and twenty-five minutes before it, it doesn't come close to bringing the movie down.
Overall, "Vacancy" is an original horror flick that is heavy on suspense, while not so heavy on bloodshed. The claustrophobic atmosphere and the tense build up in this movie is it's real charm, and it will have you on the edge of your seat, anxious to see what will happen next. It's the way a thriller should be done, and makes for an enjoyable late-night fright fest. Exceeded my expectations and went beyond. 9/10.
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