Vacancy (film)

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Vacancy
Vacancypost07.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nimród Antal
Produced by Hal Lieberman
Written by Mark L. Smith
Starring
Music by Paul Haslinger
Cinematography Andrzej Sekuła
Edited by Armen Minasian
Production
company
Hal Lieberman Company
Distributed by Screen Gems
Release dates
  • April 20, 2007 (2007-04-20)
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $19 million[1]
Box office $35.3 million[1]

Vacancy is a 2007 American horror film directed by Nimród Antal and starring Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson. It was released April 20, 2007, by the distributor Screen Gems. Early in the film's development, it was thought Sarah Jessica Parker would star; but, in September 2006, The Hollywood Reporter announced Kate Beckinsale had been signed instead.[2]

Plot[edit]

On their way home from a family party, David (Luke Wilson) and Amy Fox (Kate Beckinsale), who are on the verge of divorce after a family tragedy drove them apart, take a wrong turn on a remote mountain road. When their car breaks down, they discover there is no cell phone reception and start walking back to a motel across the street from an auto repair garage where they had stopped because the car was making noises. Oddly, when they arrive, there are no cars in the parking lot. At the Office, they hear piercing screams coming from the back room. The motel manager, Mason (Frank Whaley), appears and explains that the noises are coming from the television. They book a room for the night.

In their room, the couple hear loud and insistent banging on their door and on the door to the adjacent room. They also receive anonymous phone calls, despite being told by Mason they are the only people staying there. David notifies Mason of the situation, and he says he'll take care of it. Back in the room, a bored David takes a peek at the video tapes left on top of the television. At first, they appear to be horror movies; but, after careful observation, he realizes they are snuff films that were made in that very room. David searches the room, finding hidden cameras, and concludes they are being watched by Mason from the office.

In the bathroom, the couple is amazed to find the apple Amy left in the car. They flee the room and head for the woods, but two men dressed in blue and wearing masks stop them, so they return to the room and lock the door. David runs to the motel's payphone and dials 9-1-1, but Mason answers. David escapes the phone booth just before the men crash their car into it and chase him back to his room.

Back in the room, David and Amy hear a truck pull into the parking lot. From the window, they attract the driver's (Mark Casella) attention, but Mason and the men in masks appear behind him; and the couple realize he is a part of it and is there to buy the snuff films. David and Amy discover a tunnel from a trapdoor in the bathroom, which the men must have used to leave the apple. They follow it to the manager's office, where they find video monitors taping the entire motel. Amy calls the police, but she's interrupted by Mason before she can give the Dispatcher any useful information, leaving the phone off the hook.

Followed by two of the masked men, the couple sneak back into the tunnel and take a different route underground, ending up in the auto garage across the lot from the motel. They hold the trapdoor down with heavy items. Meanwhile, a Sheriff's Deputy (David Doty) responding to Amy's call arrives. Mason offers to show the officer around, but he leaves to fetch a different set of keys while the officer continues to search. He finds tapes in one of the rooms and, realizing the nature of the hotel, flees. David and Amy run to him, and they all get inside the police car. They find the engine wire has been cut; and, when the officer gets out to check under the hood, he is killed by the masked men and the couple flee into one of the other motel rooms.

David hides Amy inside the ceiling, and attempts to venture out alone to get a revolver gun that was in Mason's office, but the killers surprise and stab David before he can leave, and he ends up collapsing in the doorway, seen by Amy who breaks down in tears. In the morning, Amy comes down and finds the killers' car. As she drives away, a killer breaks into the car from the sun roof and, in her effort to fend him off while driving, crashes the car into the motel, killing her attacker as well as another one of the masked men, revealed to be the gas station attendant (Ethan Embry) who "helped" the couple earlier with their car troubles, as he is crushed against the front of the car. Amy runs into the reception area where she finds the revolver. In an effort to reach the revolver, an apoplectic Mason strangles her with a telephone cord that he took out of the phone in his office. As they fight, Mason beats her severely. But in his effort to get a good final shot with his hand-held digital video camera, Amy fights back, and Mason ends up throwing her within reach of the revolver she had dropped, and she shoots him three times, fatally wounding. Amy immediately runs to David to find that he is still alive, but seriously in need of help. She searches Mason's body carefully for the telephone cord he had used to strangle her, calls 911 again and returns to comfort David while they wait for the police.

Cast[edit]

Release[edit]

Vacancy opened at #4 in its first week at the box office grossing $7.6 million at 2,551 locations. In its second week, the film had a 45.9% drop-off, falling to a #8 position. The film has grossed a total of $35.3 million worldwide.[1]

Home video[edit]

Vacancy was released on DVD on August 14, 2007 in both fullscreen and anamorphic widescreen, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Special features include deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, the full versions of the snuff films, and a trailer gallery.[3] It was also released on Blu-ray Disc and UMD for the PSP. Many versions shipped to Australia featured Sony DVD "anti-piracy" technology, which led to them being unreadable on most DVD players, including Sony DVD players. The DVD featured a commentary by Nimrod Antal, Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson, all of whom said they thought the film was a great addition to the horror genre and for not using gore for scares but using psychological horror.

Advertising and promotion[edit]

The advertising strategy for the film made use of the Internet as well as a toll-free phone number. In addition to the TV spots and trailers shown in theaters and on television, the toll free number was made to sound as if one is actually calling the motel in which the film is set. In the background, screaming can be heard accompanying the voice of the proprietor, who informs callers about "slashing" prices and the "killer" deals that the motel has—if it has a vacancy. The voice of the proprietor is Frank Whaley's. As of August 7, 2015, the toll-free phone number is no longer valid.

Reception[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 56% of 120 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.5/10. The site's consensus reads: "Vacancy's restraint with gore is commendable, the thin characters and B-movie cliches less so."[4] Metacritic rated it 54/100 based on 27 reviews.[5]

Prequel[edit]

Vacancy 2: The First Cut was written by Mark L. Smith, and directed by Eric Bross. The film stars Agnes Bruckner and Trevor Wright. The prequel focuses on how the motel's employees started their tortures.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Vacancy". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  2. ^ Schneider, Karl (2006-09-11). "Kate Beckinsale joins Vacancy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2006-01-02. 
  3. ^ Jane, Ian (2007-08-07). "Vacancy". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  4. ^ "Vacancy (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 
  5. ^ "Vacancy". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-12-22. 

External links[edit]