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Rod Lott September 13th, 2007



As seen in “Vacancy” and a hundred other movies before it, small, rural, old, out-of-the-way motels in the middle of nowhere don’t enjoy much repeat business, mostly because visitors likely don’t survive the night.

Bickering soon-to-be-divorced spouses Luke Wilson (“Old School”) and Kate Beckinsale (“Underworld”) find this out the hard way when middle-of-the-night car troubles force them to catch some shut-eye at a dingy joint run by creepy manager Frank Whaley (“World Trade Center”). Inside their room, the TV shows snuff films shot in that very room. It may beat paying $15 pay-per-view charges for a Lindsay Lohan vehicle, until someone starts beating heavily on the door.

“Vacancy” is mildly involving, but instantly forgettable, offering cheap thrills and yet zero surprises. Everything you think will happen does; these dots have been connected before. Director Nimród Antal (is that name for real?) certainly makes things slick, but the film is not the well-oiled Hitchcockian machine its opening credits proclaim it to be.

The DVD offers one of the most unique, but deeply unsettling special features in the short history of the format: the unedited snuff films, of which we’re afforded only glimpses in the feature. It’s the very definition of tacky, whereas the movie at least attempts to maintain some level of intelligence. —Rod Lott
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