Dave White
Vacancy Review

Dave's Rating:


… nice, grimy, tense atmosphere …

Who's in It: Luke Wilson, Kate Beckinsale, Frank Whaley

The Basics: A bickering couple stops for the night in what looks like an even more disgusting and murder-centric version of Psycho's Bates Motel. They're genuinely surprised when people try to murder them. What I dig about this premise, though, is the surveillance-camera aspect and the nasty sense of dread they feel after they discover that a snuff film full of torture porn was shot in their very room. That's almost as good as a lot of chopped-up bodies.

What's the Deal? I've got nothing revelatory to say, other than it's typical hunter-and-the-hunted stuff you've seen before, but it's accomplished with nice, grimy, tense atmosphere and cut-above acting and just enough fun marital bickering at the outset to make you think that it's taking itself more seriously as some sort of "hey, kids, this is what marriage is really like" metaphor.

The Debate That Rages in My Own Brain: Do I want to see no-name, D-list, post-adolescent, cheese- and/or beefcake get creatively slaughtered in movies like this and live with the assurance that their lack of marquee value will result in their onscreen death? Or do I want people who can act? It's a tough call sometimes, because the famous-er they are, the less likely it seems that they'll be a puddle of guts and splattered brains by the time the closing credits roll. But then on the other hand, Beckinsale and Wilson actually convinced me that they were terrified, which doesn't happen often with less experienced actor meat. I remain conflicted.

Who's Great: Whaley as the proprietor and ringmaster of torture and chasing and creepiness and terrible mustaches. And the rats. They're awesome, too. I hate rats. They freak me out something crazy. I don't even like squirrels. Because really they're just big rats themselves. Anyway, the rats are nasty, and when you see it, you'll know what I'm talking about.

For Fans Of: Hostel, Duel, Race With the Devil.


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