Snuff at the Multiplex

Vacancy Is Not for Brainiacs

by Bradley Steinbacher


dir. Nimrod Antal

In this ludicrous, though not entirely fright-free, thriller, Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale star as David and Amy Fox, a young couple returning home after a long weekend of watching their marriage disintegrate. Hoping to make the long drive as short as possible, David makes an unwise choice to abandon the interstate in search of a shortcut. Car trouble, suspiciously friendly locals, and a night spent at a decrepit roadside motel quickly ensue.

Director Nimrod Antal (Kontroll) keeps things brisk, and he manages to wring out a few genuinely creepy moments here and there. But unfortunately for him, and for us, the script—even at an anemic 80 minutes—fails to justify the skeezed-out feeling the movie leaves you with. Let me put it this way: There’s an entire category in the credits for “Snuff Victims.” The premise is somewhat clever, but with so many of the film’s manipulative twists and turns being reliant on the outright stupidity of its characters, you can’t help but wind up feeling insulted. Vacancy may be a step up from such recent hack fare as Hostel, but then, when you’re stepping up from shit, that’s not saying a whole lot.