Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Nimród Antal|
|Produced by||Hal Lieberman|
|Written by||Mark L. Smith|
|Music by||Paul Haslinger|
|Edited by||Armen Minasian|
Hal Lieberman Company
|Distributed by||Screen Gems|
Early in the film's development, it was thought that Sarah Jessica Parker was going to be in the film. A September 2006 article in The Hollywood Reporter announced that Kate Beckinsale had signed on to replace Parker.
On their way home from a family party, married couple David (Luke Wilson) and Amy Fox (Kate Beckinsale) take a wrong turn on a remote mountain road. When their car breaks down, they discover they are lost in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception, and decide to start walking until they reach the nearest town.
After a while, they come across a completely isolated seedy motel, The Pine View, where there are no other cars parked in the lot. They wait for assistance at the check in counter and hear piercing screams coming from the back room. Amy is worried about staying but before they can leave, the motel manager, Mason (Frank Whaley) appears to greet them and, reluctantly, they book a room for the night. Mason explains the screams they heard were from a horror movie he's watching to keep himself awake, but appears strange and off-putting.
While in their room, loud and insistent banging occurs on their door and from the door to the adjacent room, despite being told by Mason they are the only people staying there. David goes to speak to the manager who tells him it's probably just a drunk squatter, and he'll take care of it. A little later, a bored David takes a peek at the video tapes left on top of the television. At first, the appear to be horror movies, but as he watches more and more, he realizes they are snuff films made in the very room in which they are staying. He alerts Amy and then searches the room, finding cameras hidden in various places, meaning they are being watched by Mason from the office.
The pair discuss how they're going to leave without being seen. They find Amy's apple that she was eating and left in the car in the bathroom, and realise somebody must have put it there and, therefore, been in the room while they've been in there. They quickly flee from the room and head for the woodland, but three men dressed in blue and wearing masks stop them, and they return to their room and lock the door. David then makes a run to the motel's payphone booth. He dials 911 only to realise Mason's made sure all calls are diverted to the office and he answers. David escapes the booth just before a car crashes into it.
Back in the room, David and Amy hear a truck pull in to the parking lot. From the window, they attract the driver's attention who seemingly walks over to help them out, but Mason and the men in masks appear behind him, only to catch up with them and have a friendly laugh about the new victims. He is actually there to buy a box of tapes of 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 and end up inside the manager's office, where they find video monitors taping the entire motel. Amy tries to call the police from their phone but is interrupted by Mason returning before she can give the operator any useful information. 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, the police unit responding to Amy's call arrives. They watch as Mason shows him around, but he leaves to fetch a different set of keys while the officer continues to search. He finds the tapes in one of the rooms and flees, armed. Knowing it is their last catch of getting away, 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, they kill him and the couple flee into one of the other motel rooms.
David hides Amy inside the ceiling so he ventures out alone, but the killers find 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 where the killers hid their 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 that "helped" the couple earlier with their car troubles, as he is crushed against the front of the car. She runs into the reception area where she finds a revolver. In an effort to reach the revolver, an apoplectic Mason strangles her with a telephone cord. As they fight, Mason beats her severely. But in his effort to get a good final shot with his hand-held digital video camera, Mason throws Amy within reach of a revolver she had dropped, and she shoots him three times, killing him. Amy immediately runs to David to find that he is still alive but seriously in need of them. She searches Mason's body carefully for the telephone cord he had pulled out of the wall to use to strangle her, calls 911 again and returns to comfort David while they wait for the police.
- Kate Beckinsale as Amy Fox
- Luke Wilson as David Fox
- Frank Whaley as Mason
- Ethan Embry as the Mechanic
- Scott G. Anderson as the Killer
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 $28.4 million worldwide. The film received mixed reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes giving the film an average rating of 56%. "Vacancy's restraint with gore is commendable", said one critic.
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. 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 claimed 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
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 is 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—that is, if it is not vacant. The toll free phone number for the ad is 1-888-9-VACANCY (1-888-9-8222629). The voice of the proprietor is Frank Whaley's.
As of September 16, 2014, the toll-free phone number for the ad is still valid. Though instead of it starting off as it goes right to Mason, it says "Hello, thanks for calling. Please press 1 to make reservations at the Pine-Wood Motel, Press 2 to buy tickets for Vacancy off of Fandango, Press 3 for an operator." Since Vacancy is long gone from the theaters, pressing 2 disconnects you. Pressing 1 plays the normal intro, pressing 2 takes you to the front desk, pressing 0 plays a scratchy recording of a call to the operator. When disconnected on the recording, it too disconnects you from the call.
As of August 7, 2015, the toll-free phone number is no longer valid.
In addition, the phone call also refers the caller to the film's website, which is also set up to be the site of the actual motel. After calling, one is given a "promotional code" (8889) which can be entered at the website, which then shows previews of the snuff films that the motel proprietor and various people created, taken from the set. It was assisted and directed by Julie Tsaruhas.
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.
- Official website
- Vacancy at the Internet Movie Database
- Vacancy at AllMovie
- Vacancy at Box Office Mojo
- Vacancy at Rotten Tomatoes