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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner13/06/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 85 mins

Enjoyable thriller with a nice line in suspense and strong performances from Wilson and Beckinsale.

What's it all about?
Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale play David and Amy Fox, a soon to be divorced couple who get car trouble on a country road and wind up at a sleazy motel in the middle of nowhere. The creepy motel manager (Frank Whaley) puts them up in the grimy honeymoon suite but before they can complain, they hear a series of scary noises in the room next door.

Things go from bad to worse when David discovers a stack of videotapes that appear to show people being murdered in their motel room by masked psychos. Unsurprisingly, it's not long before said masked psychos make an appearance, intent on making David and Amy the stars of their very own snuff film.

The Good
Director Nimrod Antal (Kontroll) thankfully resists the urge to go down the torture porn route of recent films like Hostel and The Hills Have Eyes, instead orchestrating a series of nail-biting suspense sequences in which David and Amy essentially play a terrifying game of hide-and-seek. Antal also keeps the action pacey and involving throughout - a claustrophobic sequence set in an underground tunnel is particularly effective.

Wilson and Beckinsale make likeable leads and the intelligent script ensures that you become emotionally invested in the idea of them working together to survive. There's also strong support from Whaley, though it's a shame the filmmakers didn't bother to flesh out the characters of his fellow psychos.

The Great
In addition, Antal packs the film with several nice touches, not least of which is a colourful and inventive opening credits sequence that's reminiscent of Hitchcock thrillers. It also has a superb score by Paul Haslinger that you'll almost certainly find yourself humming on the way out.

Worth seeing?
Vacancy is an enjoyable, pleasingly old-fashioned thriller with strong performances and some expertly handled suspense sequences. Recommended.

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Content updated: 17/10/2019 17:15

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