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Better than your usual snuff film
Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale Star in "Vacancy".
OPENING WEEKEND: $16,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $44,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

March 8th, 2007: When David (Luke Wilson) and Amy Fox's (Kate Beckinsale) car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, they are forced to spend the night at the only motel around, with only the TV to entertain them. Soon they discover that the low-budget slasher movies they're watching were all filmed in the very room they're staying in. With hidden cameras now aimed at them - trapping them in rooms, crawlspaces, underground tunnels - and filming their every move, David and Amy must struggle to get out alive before whomever is watching them can finish their latest masterpiece.

What to Expect: If you are a fan of the horror genre then you will tend to agree that most horror movies released in the last five years have been predictable, overdone gore fests, lacking in imagination. It seems that 2007 will be no exception with the release of Vacancy. The plot alone is similar to a number of other horror films, including House of Wax, Wrong Turn and The Hills Have Eyes, where in each film the victims run into some car trouble and then while looking for help end up fighting for their lives. The heroes and the killers are different, but the main idea is still the same.


Furthermore, the murderers are never brought to justice, leaving the story open for a sequel.


Article continues below

Vacancy is based on the popular urban legend that revolves around a newlywed couple filmed at a motel. When they arrive for their anniversary, and decide to watch a porno movie, they realize that the couple they are watching on TV is them. In addition, Vacancy adds a "snuff film" twist, which transforms the voyeuristic plot to a horror one. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, "snuff films" are explicit porno movies, where after sex, the victim is violently murdered. Existence of actual snuff films is arguable, but the very notion that something like that could exist sets the whole tone for the movie.

Vacancy starts out with the couple coming home from a wedding; David is being nasty to his wife, and she is clearly tired of the abuse. It has become so bad, that the combination of her bully husband and an earlier miscarriage has her now addicted to Prozac.

Coincidently, this on screen relationship is very similar to the rumored relationship between Wilson and Beckinsale, who spent a good amount of time fighting on set. According to sources, Wilson refused to participate in several scenes and would constantly show up late and hung over. Beckinsale finally got fed up with his antics, and during filming sent a picture of herself that read "Read your lines to this, it will be better for both of us."

Ironically, Beckinsale was almost not even cast, as the original choice was Sarah Jessica Parker, who was pregnant at the time and ended up dropping out due to personal reasons. Casting Beckinsale was a no brainer, as the actress has worked on three prior films with the studio and, unlike Parker, has some experience with horror films.

Following Parker's departure, director Simon West (When a Stranger Calls) was also replaced for an unknown, Nimrod Antal, which seems to be a better decision. Nimrod, who was actually born in the US, went to Hungary in 1993, perhaps to escape the ridicule his name would bring in any English speaking country. For ten years, Nimrod directed everything from commercials to music videos around Central Europe, until his break out hit "Kontroll" in 2003, which was about a serial killer operating in the hectic Budapest subway system. This was extremely difficult to film since the subway system did not have any unused stretches, so the movie was filmed entirely while the subway was actually in use. The end result was a wide success garnering much acclaim including awards at Cannes, the Chicago Film Festival and even a nomination for best director at the European Film Festival. Perhaps, if he is able to conquer the Budapest subway system, he will also be able to overcome the on set problems between Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson, the lack of original writing in this screen play and Wilson's lack of experience in anything other then comedy. Even then it will be hard to sell Atel's brand of humor laden horror and gore in the saturated American market where a new horror movie hits the theatres every month.

On a side note, the film is rated R for brutal violence and terror, brief nudity and language. However, if you are hoping to see Mrs. Beckinsale nude, you'll be very disappointed, as the brief nudity only comes when the couple watches the snuff films they find in the motel.

In Conclusion: The film attempts to be original by introducing the snuff film twist to a horror film, but we have seen this movie in all its forms, so many times over. Luke Wilson needs to stick to his bread and butter comedies and should avoid low budget suspense films. He should spend his time wisely, calling Will Farrell over and over again to reconsider doing Old School 2.

Similar Titles: House of Wax, Kontroll, Wrong Turn
April 20th, 2007 (wide)
August 14th, 2007 (DVD)

Screen Gems

Nimrod Antal

Luke Wilson, Kate Beckinsale, Frank Whaley, Ethan Embry

Total: 74 vote(s).

Horror, Suspense

Click here to view site

Rated R for brutal violence and terror, brief nudity and language.

85 min





Vacancy at AskMen.com

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