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Nimród Antal
Kate Beckinsale, Luke Wilson, Frank Whaley
Writing Credits:
Mark L. Smith

A married couple becomes stranded at an isolated motel and finds hidden video cameras in their room. They soon realize that unless they escape, they'll be the next victims of a snuff film.

Box Office:
$19 million.
Opening Weekend
$7,603,376 on 2551 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 85 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 2/5/2019
Available in 3-Film “Queens of Scream” Set

• None


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Vacancy [Blu-Ray] (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 30, 2020)

While most horror flicks feature young up-and-coming actors, 2007’s Vacancy offered a bit higher pedigree in terms of cast. No, Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale didn’t boast dynamic box office power then or now, but it did come as a surprise to find them in this sort of flick.

Vacancy introduces us to married couple David (Wilson) and Amy Fox (Beckinsale), both involved in a bad relationship strained by the recent death of their young son. During a long, unpleasant road trip, their car breaks down and they end up at a motel in the middle of nowhere.

While there, things go from crummy to worse. First they’re subjected to some stranger who bangs on their walls. When that seems to end, they try to unwind with the in-room videotapes, all of which show gruesome examples of torture.

If that’s not bad enough, matters get more upsetting when it becomes clear that the horrible tapes were shot in the same motel room – and they don’t appear to be fake. The rest of the flick follows their ordeal.

When I went into Vacancy, I expected an effort in the same vein as other torture-horror movies like Hostel and Turistas. From the start, however, director Nimrod Antal makes it clear he aspires to a different level of pretensions.

The opening credits boast a very obvious Hitchcock homage, and the scenes with the motel clerk (Frank Whaley) give off a patently obvious Psycho vibe.

Unfortunately, Vacancy owes much more of a debt to the modern movies I mentioned above than it does to Hitch. Granted, it doesn’t delight in gore to the same degree as its siblings. We get some graphic violence but not a lot, as the film keeps those elements to a reasonable minimum.

Otherwise, any resemblance to Hitchcock is skin deep and more of the filmmakers’ hopes than any reality. Hitch certainly wouldn’t have made a movie with so damned little real tension or drama, and I also expect he’d have created characters with more life to them.

Our extended introduction to David and Amy proves almost totally meaningless. While I know the film couldn’t just plop them in the terror without any exposition, I wish that the character development actually mattered.

It doesn’t. Yes, David and Amy inevitably grow to care about each other again as they deal with their nightmare, but so what? Why did they need to be emotionally separated at all?

Those elements don’t connect to the story or the characters in any significant way, so they could’ve been a happy couple at the start and the film would’ve worked just as well. This makes all of the info about their problems feel useless simply because those elements set up a pay-off that never comes.

It doesn’t help that for 95 percent of the movie, Amy comes across as a bitch, helpless or both. The film eventually allows her to redeem herself, but we don’t buy that change given her negativity up until that point. We need to invest in these characters, but it becomes tough to do so.

Ultimately, Vacancy never manages to become anything more than a mediocre horror flick. For all its Hitchcockian pretensions, it lacks anything to let it rise above the level of the usual pap. It’s no more tense, dramatic or involving than any of the others.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus F

Vacancy appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie displayed a good presentation.

For the most part, sharpness seemed positive. Occasional instances of minor softness impacted wider shots, but the majority of the flick felt accurate and precise.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but I noticed some light edge enhancement at times. As for source flaws, I saw a couple of small specks but otherwise the movie was clean.

Colors stayed very subdued, as the movie focused on an amber palette without many examples of bright tones. Within the production design, the hues appeared fine.

Blacks felt deep and dark, while shadows offered nice clarity. The occasional soft shot and the minor print flaws made this a “B”.

As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Vacancy, it stayed low-key most of the time, as this wasn’t the kind of horror flick that poured on the slam-bang effects. Instead, it tended to favor general atmosphere.

Most of the action came in short bursts such as when the baddies banged on the motel room walls or one came after David in a car. The track popped to life well on those occasions and also involved the surrounds to a satisfying degree, but not a lot of these sequences appeared.

Audio quality was good. A few lines seemed a bit brittle, but most of the speech was natural and concise. Music seemed lively and dynamic, and effects followed along the same lines.

Those elements featured good range and impact. This mix was too subdued for high marks but I found nothing problematic about it. It lost points due to its lossy nature, though, as Blu-rays should always come with lossless audio.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD? Audio remained identical, as both provided the same Dolby Digital track.

Picture showed a tick up, though, as the Blu-ray appeared tighter and warmer. Even with its minor concerns, it improved upon the visuals of the DVD.

No extras appear here, which means we lose a smattering of components from the DVD.

If you want to find a flick that combines a Hitchcock vibe with the “snuff film” tone of many modern horror movies… keep looking. Vacancy aspires to provide the best of both worlds but instead just becomes a tedious effort without any real drama on display. The Blu-ray brings generally solid picture and audio but it lacks bonus materials. This turns into a decent release for a lackluster movie.

Note that this version of Vacancy comes as part of a three-film "Queens of Scream" package along with I Know What You Did Last Summer and the 2006 When A Stranger Calls. An individual release of Vacancy on Blu-ray appeared in 2007 but that version went out of print.

To rate this film, visit the original review of VACANCY

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