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Movie Review

Vacancy

MPAA Rating: R for brutal violence and terror, brief nudity and language

Reviewed by: Chris Sosa
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Genre:
Thriller, Suspense, Horror
Length:
1 hr. 25. min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
April 20, 2007 (wide)
Copyright, Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Copyright, Screen Gems
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Screen Gems

How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer

Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?

Featuring: Luke Wilson, Kate Beckinsale, Frank Whaley, Andrew Fiscella, Dale Waddington Horowitz
Director: Nimrod Antal
Producer: Brian Paschal, Stacy Cramer, Hal Lieberman
Distributor: Screen Gems

Let me begin by saying that this review will be brief, as “Vacancy” contains little to no plot and has nothing of value to discuss.

The plot revolves around a couple experiencing severe marital problems. They have recently lost their only child, and are now stranded in the middle of nowhere. To make matters worse, after swerving to avoid an animal in the middle of the road, it seems that their car is experiencing problems. After stopping at a nearby gas station, they are assured by the friendly owner that they will be able to make it to their destination without any serious car problems. However, this does not seem to be the case as their car breaks down a little ways down the road. They walk to a local motel, and after registering for a room, they decide to get some rest. So of course they watch the video on top of the TV, and as horror movies such as “Vacancy” go, it turns out to be a snuff video. And not just any snuff video… This video was filmed in the same room in which the couple is staying…

As far as violent content, this movie is brutal. While not as incredibly gory as many recent horror films, this film revels in realistic brutality. Stabbing and heartless murder are at the center of this twisted story. To be honest, brutal gore would probably be preferable in the eyes of many to the cold-blooded realist murders of “Vacancy.”

Sexual content is very tame for a horror film, as only a comment or two are even made. However, there is one scene contained in a snuff video of a topless woman being murdered. The woman may have possibly been revealing more, but it was difficult to tell, as the camera was very frantic.

Language is pretty average, maybe a little below average. There is quite a bit of strong language, but it is certainly not the most worrisome element of this film. However, it is pretty strong, with numerous uses of the strongest language, and many uses of moderate language.

Christians looking for something of value in this movie will find absolutely nothing. This movie is nothing more than an excuse for an audience to watch a vicious bloodbath, so searching for any moral of love, redemption, or the like would be a complete waste of time. While one can pull some moral out of nearly any movie, this isn’t one of them.

So in closing, just skip this movie. It’s dull, stupid, and utterly worthless. Horror films can be excellent escapist entertainment, and can even have redemptive values, but this is not one of them. I spent most of the time checking my cell-phone clock to see how much longer I’d have to sit through this bore.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy


Viewer Comments
Comments available:
Positive
Positive—First of all, folks gotta understand, I’m a fan of serial killer flicks—e.g., “The Cell,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” etc. They take you on twisted journeys into someone’s sick, demented mind. Entertainment value is always high because you’re on the edge of your seat. You walk away from the theater or your tv screen and can’t help but shudder at the pure evil… these sickos are engulged by it! Granted, the movies (and their wicked antagonists) I’ve cited are all fictional, but some are inspired by real life events/people, e.g. Ed Gein.

Having said that, I enoyed “Vacancy” for what it’s worth—a suspenseful serial killer flick. *Spoiler ahead* The nature of the realistic violence will make you think (at least it made me think) the couple won’t make it out alive. I really believed that. The whole movie is devoted to keeping you tensed up, wondering if and when the protagonists are gonna bite the bullet. From the get-go, their plight continuously worsens, and by the end, I really thought all hope was lost, especially after Luke Wilson takes a knife to the gut. It was right about this time I found myself shouting at the theater screen, telling Kate Beckingsale what to do. Yes, it was goofy of me, but I was that involved. *end Spoiler*

A few positive notes about the content. As BEST as I can recall it, the language is heavy in the beginning, but it’s not entirely gratuitous, and then it eventually wanes and becomes altogether less frequent. Again, that’s to the best of my memory. I say it’s not too gratuitous in the start of the film because the beginning setup is a couple on the brink of divorce traveling on a dark and windy road well past midnight. The wife is irritable and consequently so is the husband. They exchange some colorful dialogue because let’s face it, they’re having a bad day. I have bad days. Admittedly, a number of not-so-uplifting words slip out under my breath when I have bad days. Point is I can understand the usage or inclusion of harsh language, even in the later parts of the film. Come on! Our favorite couple is hanging on for dear life! They’re bound to scream out a few curse words when they’re scared senseless! Having said all this, using the Lord’s name in vain is always uncalled for, and I still can’t figure out why filmmakers feel obliged to include it—“Vacancy,” regrettably, is no exception. On a different, but related “content” note, there is no sex nor crude humor. The violence is not gory, and neither is it frequent. Brutal, yes. Realistic? Yes. But it is to be expected in a movie of this genre; thankfully it’s not served up in copious amounts.

Lastly, I want to mention the short runtime is not a problem. The 80-some-odd minutes “Vacancy” boasts is just perfect. Nothing is overdone or omitted. It’s a simple story, using essentially one location and relatively few characters. I didn’t expect any twists or turns going into the theater and I was not given any. Simple is good. Suspenseful is good, especially sans campiness. For all these reasons and more, I give “Vacancy” (you guessed) 'two thumbs up.'
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Jacob Keenum, age 20
Neutral
Neutral—This film was definitely not for children. As stated in the original review, the couple are having marital problems which do not become evident for a while, but the trauma that they go through in this hideous hotel brings them back together. The movie shows a very grose perverted side of the dark type (what I would call demonic sickness) in the mind of the man who runs the hotel and his killer friends who make videos of people being murdered to be sold to the black market of sick minds. The only way anyone would have gone to this hotel would have had to be stranded and would have had no choice but to stay there, which happened to this couple.

The couple find out, by watching a video in their room, that the killings they are viewing had actually taken place in their room and that the people are actually being murdered. The husband starts to look around and finds cameras planted through out the room. Once they begin to realize these things, the killers start their fear tactics and the movie quickly becomes a desperate, fearful, traumatic event of the couple trying to escape and survive. While they are trying to survive, you sit on the edge of your seat wanting the couple to live and make it out of there and very much wanting the hotel manager and his creepy killers to be caught. In one scene, they end up in the hotels managers office and there are hundreds of videos lining the wall, his cameras are all set up viewing the room that the couple had been in which you can see on the hotel monitors. it was very disturbing.

The end was what one would hope would happen to the creepiest of creepy people. This movie had no biblical anything, only survival in a very sick situation. The most scary part about this movie, is to think that any human being could possibly do the things to people that the hotel manager and his sick helpers were doing to people.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 3½
—Donna M, age 51
Neutral—My daughter and I went to see this movie. There is nothing Godly or spiritual about this movie, except it was all the way “on the dark side.” We sat on edge of our seats hoping that the couple that landed in this horrible hotel would escape with their lives. The visuals were scary and it was definitely “gross,” because of what was happening to people in this hotel. It’s definitely not for children and a one time viewing, if at all. Lots of cuss words and horrible perversion. The only redeeming thing about this movie is that the couple live and the bad guys die.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3½
—Donna M, age 51
Negative
Negative—If I had anything to say about this movie is that it is irritating. I expected so much more from this film. I think what makes a good suspense movie is when you watch the movie you are saying 'why doesn’t he just do this, or that or whatever'. This movie takes it to a whole new level, you spend the entire movie watching the characters bumble around in this situation. Just an irritating movie.

The movie starts out like it is going to be a good suspense, but there is almost no suspense, the movie is very predictable, and you end up just waiting for it to end, not wondering how it will.

From a christian standpoint, I think there is no point to see the movie. There is no point in watching a movie that isn’t good, but that is filled with violence and all that. All in all though, I think there was only one quick scene of nudity, and minimal swearing compared to most these days. The violence was pretty extreme, not as bad as a gore movie, but more than you would expect from a suspence. Not worth the time, or the money in my opinion.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Tony, age 26
Comments from young people
Negative—This movie was not only morally corrupt but extremely disappointing. There were a couple GD’s and a strew of other cuss words as well as some nudity. There was also a lot of violence. But the point of the movie, to make the viewer be on the edge of their seat, was totally lost. I didn’t find it scary or suspenseful whatsoever and was very disappointed when it ended real quickly without any real resolution. Save your money, don’t see this movie.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Kay, age 16