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Published on June 21st, 2008 | by simeon

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Vacancy

While driving down a back road late one evening on their way to L.A. an embattled couple, are about to make a stop that could cost them their lives. In Vacancy, Amy and David Fox, are returning home from a trip to celebrate the anniversary of their in laws.
The fact that they had to hide their failing marriage, and the tensions that still remain as a result, have driven Amy and David to the point of irritability and they never cease to find new ways to verbally spar with one another.

When their car breaks down, they are happy to discover a gas station attendant who tells them that he can get their car repaired enough to make it to the next town where they will be able to get the help that they need in the morning.

This proves not to be the case as their car once again breaks down shortly after they resume their trip, which forces Amy and David to walk back into town and stay the night at the only hotel in the remote locale.

Frustrated by their situation, the two resign themselves to their situation and check into the hotel and soon make a startling discovery. A stack of video tapes in the room seems to indicate that a series of ghastly murders has been committed in their room, and when hidden cameras are discovered, Amy and David soon realize that they are to be the stars of a future tape.

Trapped and alone, the duo must stave off a series of attacks and find a way to survive, so they can escape the nightmare they have stumbled into.

At first the premise of the film seems to be a step above the usual genre film, as the two leads, Wilson and Beckinsale, bring acredibility to their roles, and do develop their characters beyond the paper thin constructs that are so common in films of this type.

Sadly the film does not take advantage of this advantage and soon becomes a series of pat situations and a surprisingly odd lack of tension and suspense in the film.

One of the biggest problems in the film is that it tips it’s hand way to early in the film, as we know what is going on as the discovery of the tapes eliminates much of the mystery. Had the film saved this piece of information until the end of the film, it might have had far more impact as the audience would be left wondering why the bizarre events were happening to the couple.

Another issue for me was the small cast, as with only Wilson and Beckinsale in peril for the majority of the film, the tension level was greatly reduced, as you know that neither of them is going to be killed early in the film, as that would leave the movie without any protagonists.

As much as I liked the concept and casting, especially Frank Whaley as the creepy hotel clerk, Vacancy is simply a good idea that never rises above its premise, and ends up content to recycle the same old formula from dozens of other horror films without offering any of the thrills or chills, and leaves you unsatisfied.

2 stars out of 5.


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