Monday, 3 November 2008

Vacancy

After watching this, I honestly didn't expect to find myself on here blogging about it. I enjoyed it, y'see. It's simple, short, very direct and quite amusing. Its stars are sufficiently no-faced (Luke 'Everyman' Wilson and Kate Beckinsale) that it doesn't matter who they are; I suspect I would have loved this if it had had two no-names in it, but that's by the by - it doesn't, so let's look at what it is.

Oh, spoilers ahead.

A couple's car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. They end up at a nearby motel, where strange things start happening; banging on the door adjoining the next room, on the front door, some other weirdness. They complain to the manager, he says he's sort it, blokey goes back to their room and puts a videotape on, is shocked to see it's a rather crude film of people getting the shit kicked out of them and killed, then realises the films were all shot in the very room he's sitting in.

Then he starts to get worried. Fair enough.

What follows is the ideal introduction to the horror thriller for pre-teens – pretty Hollywood faces in a film short enough for any attention span (80 minutes including credits!), no major on-screen violence at all, and everyone good survives (except the panicky policeman, who you knew would die as soon as he appeared). It's reasonably imaginative, has a few jumps in it that are telegraphed from far away, and there's very, very little on-screen blood. It has a small cast too, which makes movies like this much more effective.

So why is it on here? Because Luke Wilson's character fucking lives, that's why. He's stabbed in the stomach, I'd say right around the liver; that's fatal pretty quickly without major surgery and hospitalisation. But no. It's very dark when he's stabbed, and yet Beckinsale, when she comes out of her hiding place after a good kip and kills all the bad men, finds him weak but alive right where he collapsed and crawled to after being stabbed.

The movie lost me right there. Stabbings are more often fatal than gunshot wounds; one in the stomach with a reasonable-sized knife, left for a few hours on the ground… Deader than shit, Luke. I suspect there's a version of this script out there where he dies, when the budget was probably $15million lower, but that's long gone. I bought into this movie, and it sold me out, and for that, dear friends, it's a MOVIEGRENADE!

Oh, kudos to Frank Whaley though - he did just fine with a very limited and concise script. Yay Frank!

5 comments:

Z said...

Happy ending then? Shit. I hate it when that happens.

B.E. Earl said...

I recorded this one on the old DVR a few weeks back, but I haven't been in the mood to watch it yet. One of those "I know its gonna suck, but I'm gonna watch it anyway" kinda flicks.

badgerdaddy said...

Not exactly a happy ending, he's hurt but he's alive and they're waiting for the emergency services. Which, for the record, would have been there ages before after a copper went there and got killed. Once a police officer is out of contact, they generally send more in case something's happened, as I recall...

Now, the ending of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, there's a happy ending - Ken Foree, bleeding to death in the middle of nowhere. The sad ending (they filmed two) resulted in him dying much earlier.

Earl, that's a good summary of the movie.

Slyde said...

i really did like this movie..

B.E. Earl said...

This film felt like it was done before and better. Feh.