What You Need To Know:
VACANCY is a cut above other slasher movies. It relies more on suspense and character than graphic, gory violence. Thus, it's just as much an intense tale of survival as it is a tale of horror. That said, the suggestion of violence is very strong and scary. The movie also contains lots of strong foul language and glimpses of female nudity in one of the homemade slasher tapes. Overall, MOVIEGUIDE® considers such a movie as VACANCY to be excessive and rather limited in its redemptive possibilities.
(B, LLL, VVV, NN, M) Very light moral message as an estranged married couple is tormented by an evil gang of killers at a remote, isolated motel and must rediscover their commitment to one another in order to survive; 51 mostly strong obscenities (including many "f" words), eight strong profanities and 13 light profanities; very strong, sometimes suggested violence with some blood such as scary pounding on doors, stabbings, a shooting, cars crash into objects, and men punch, drag and hit women (sometimes slightly off screen); no sex scenes; men drag semi-nude woman around on video-taped scenes so there are brief suggestions or glimpses of upper female nudity but they are obscured; no alcohol; no smoking; and, estranged couple bicker bitterly and refer to son who died accidentally, which event apparently added to their estrangement.
In VACANCY, a late night detour turns into a nightmare when an estranged couple’s car breaks down on a remote country road in California. David Fox and his soon-to-be ex-wife, Amy, are forced to spend the night at a seedy, decrepit motel run by an odd young manager named Mason. Mason is more interested in watching lurid horror movies in the backroom than helping them with their car problems.
In their filthy, roach-infested room, David and Amy begin to hear frantic banging from the room next door and outside. Mason suggests a drunken vagrant might be the culprit. He says he’ll run him off.
David tries to calm down by watching TV, but the TV set can’t get any reception, so he starts watching some unmarked videos. Soon, David realizes that the sinister slasher movies on the tapes have been shot in the very room in which they’re staying. David and Amy know they are the next victims. They must put aside their differences and work together to escape.
With some overt allusions to Alfred Hitchcock’s thrillers, especially the infamous PSYCHO, VACANCY is a cut above other slasher movies. It relies more on suspense and character than graphic, gory violence. For example, in one scene, a character is stabbed, but the camera focuses on a few drops of blood hitting the character’s shoe. In that sense, VACANCY is just as much a tale of survival as it is a tale of horror. That said, the suggestion of violence is very strong and scary. The movie also contains lots of strong foul language and a glimpse of female nudity in one of the homemade slasher tapes David finds. A stronger, more positive worldview would have helped. Also, the plot could have used a bit more cleverness at the end to make the movie stand out even more from the crowd. Overall, MOVIEGUIDE® considers such a movie as VACANCY to be excessive and rather limited in its redemptive qualities, despite its much appreciated and more appropriate “restraint” regarding depicted media violence. Some nimrods living among us, however, probably will get evil notions in their heads after watching this flick, which comes dangerously close to reality in our media-inspired culture of sex and ultra-violence. Extensive scientific research also shows that average people watching such media violence become desensitized to it and more violent in their private lives.