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Vacancy (2007)

A movie directed by Nimród Antal

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A Movie That Dares to Examine Snuff Films

  • Aug 16, 2007
VACANCY may not be the best thriller of the year, though it does provide three good performances from Kate Beckinsale, Frank Whaley and a surprise serious role for fine comedian Luke Wilson, but it stands apart from many by the fact that it unveils a piece of the underbelly of crime by addressing the creation of snuff films (films made by strange minds that show the death of the actors, and whether or not we like to believe it, there is an audience for that!). The fact that the film (as shown in the very good featurette additions) was filmed entirely on a studio set adds to the admiration that grows after the fright diminishes. And writer Mark L. Smith and director Nimród Antal deserve credit for their project.

The plot is simple: on a night road married couple Amy (Kate Beckinsale) and David Fox (Luke Wilson) are lost and the tension of the night only ads to the fact that this couple is in the throes of a broken marriage, one that fractured at the accidental death of their only son. Frustrated and angry with each other and their plight, they end up stranded in the middle of nowhere and check in to a morbid motel managed by the oily and repulsive Mason (Frank Whaley). From the moment they enter their room they realize something is wrong: the videos on the television are snuff films filmed in the room in which they are staying. From there the action of the film speeds up and is a non-stop ingenious attempt to escape the killers that besiege their room. The trauma of the night makes Amy and David reconsider their history and the film ends with a grande guignol bang.

Beckinsale and Wilson make a credible couple and the writer and director have opted to make the film more about the relationship of the estranged couple than just about horror. It works. This is not a great film, but it is an entertaining one - as well as frighteningly informative...! Grady Harp, August 07

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More Vacancy (2007) reviews
review by . May 20, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
            VACANCY      When this film was first released in trailer format I was kinda excited because it looked extremely interesting. I was also interested in seeing how the stars they went with would perform in this film. Still even if they were not all that great I had a feeling the story alone would be cool. I was very right as it turns out because I love these types of flicks, they feel so real since stuff like this actually happens. …
Quick Tip by . May 20, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
The thing that I am sure most will agree on was the miscasting. Lesser known actors would have been great here I am sure. This is one of those flicks that with a less preconceived image of an actor you go in with the better the film will feel. At least that is what I think, who knows, could be wrong.
review by . October 02, 2007
Director Nimrod Antal broke out the Cliff's Notes on Hitchcock when he put "Vacancy" on the screen. From the frantic music in the beginning to a story littered with bizarre angles and dark corners, you'll see the legend's thumbprint throughout this film. Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale play a couple on the edge of divorce who's car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. A friendly (perhaps too friendly) mechanic (Ethan Embry) fixes them up just enough to make it to a larger town. Unfortunately his …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #96
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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A confined setting is a useful tool for thriller-makers, and Vacancy is definitely boxed in: a rundown motel way, way off the Interstate, the kind of place where unsuspecting movie characters go to get stabbed to death in the shower. If Vacancy doesn't quite live up to its Hitchcockian forbears, at least it provides 80 minutes of well-designed mayhem. You know somebody's paying attention just from the opening credits, a clever vortex with pounding music by Paul Haslinger. Then we meet unhappy couple Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale, driving along in the dark and forced to stay at the Pinewood Motel after a car breakdown. There's a night man (Frank Whaley, decadent) in the tradition of Dennis Weaver's Touch of Evil gargoyle, but the real mess of trouble is waiting in room number 4. Director Nimrod Antal, who scored a stylish international hit with the Hungarian thriller Kontroll, squeezes maximum juice out of the Route 66 atmosphere of the motel, although the movie doesn't get under your skin the way Kontroll did. Wilson and Beckinsale are a little too marquee-namish for this kind of heavy-breathing work, and the script doesn't give them much to play with. But hey, it's not that kind of movie. Where it really belongs is on the top half of a drive-in double bill, or maybe as a nightmare-scenario TV movie from the Seventies. Either way, it works. --Robert Horton

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Director: Nimród Antal
Screen Writer: Mark L. Smith
DVD Release Date: August 14, 2007
Runtime: 85 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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