Directed by: Nimród Antal | 85 minutes | horror, thriller | Actors: Kate Beckinsale, Luke Wilson, Frank Whaley, Ethan Embry, Scott G. Anderson, Mark Casella, David Doty, Norm Compton, Caryn Mower, Meegan Godfrey, Kym Stys, Andrew Fiscella, Dale Waddington Horowitz, Ernest Misko, Bryan Ross
Luke Wilson normally makes a living from comedies, but wanted more. Hence, the actor once tries a horror movie. ‘Vacancy’ is his baptism of fire in the horror genre and it is a daring step, because his role in this horror thriller requires quite a bit of skill. You could almost call it funny, but Luke can act. Real acting.
Vacancy is about Amy (Beckinsale) and David Fox (Wilson), an unhappy couple who just can’t get over the death of their son. The couple has split up and longs for the bullet in the form of the divorce papers. A last trip together does not go as planned and the Fox family’s car breaks down. Angry, tired and sad, the duo decided to spend the night in a dingy motel. Then the problems really start. The dilapidated place is used to record snuff films and now David and Amy have just the desired star power qualities …
Director Nimród Antal understands the fact that excess is harmful and therefore shows very little of the gore. Some banging on doors and disturbing noises that seem to come to the couple in Surround sound are exciting enough. The killers themselves are also hard to see and say little. The motives of the slaughterers are unclear, which makes it all the more uncomfortable to watch the game of cat and mouse. The subtle use of music gives the film a creepy atmosphere. ‘Vacancy’ is old-fashioned scary and that’s how it should be. The acting is okay too. Frank Whaley plays a nice role in the form of the shady motel owner. Wilson is a pretty nice man who wants to protect his wife from danger. While the comedian’s exasperated looks at times feel contrived, Wilson certainly isn’t doing bad in one of his few serious roles. Beckinsale is in great shape and gives her character a plausible dose of fear and the urge to survive. You are not looking at a heroine, but at a woman of flesh and blood. Very convincingly done.
However, the best acting comes from the set. The dilapidated motel looks like a relic from the seventies and brings back memories of classic horror films from the seventies. ‘Vacancy’ is an entertaining and compelling horror film that is really exciting for a change. The playing time of 85 minutes is perfectly chosen and again shows that less is not necessarily worse. Because ‘Vacancy’ is so compact, the film doesn’t get boring for a moment and it doesn’t collapse.