Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Vacancy (2007)

At last, a good horror movie. After the last couple, I was starting to despair.

Vacancy got on my To Watch list for two reasons. Kate Beckinsale was one. The other was that I heard some good things. But you never know if you should trust other people's tastes, so I didn't want to get too excited. Fortunately, my friends were right on.

I don't know if I'm gonna buy Vacancy, because frankly it's kind of hard to watch. It opens with Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson as a married couple on a road trip, but they're picking on each other. Once they get lost and start having car trouble though, the snide comments and dirty looks soon escalate to outright name calling and the presentation of middle fingers. These guys hate each other and the actors are so convincing at it that it's uncomfortable to be around them.

When their car finally dies on them and they get stuck overnight in a little motel in the middle of nowhere, things get really nasty. After being frightened half to death by some unseen pranksters who won't stop knocking loudly on the doors, Luke starts looking for something to help him unwind and get to sleep. He finds a stash of unmarked video tapes and pops one in the VCR. He and Kate are horrified enough that it's apparently a real, live snuff film, but even more disturbing is that it was apparently filmed in the very room they're staying in.

By this time, I'm just about ready to turn the movie off because the tension's so high. I'm already on edge from Kate and Luke's bickering, then the knocking starts and its scary as hell because a) Kate and Luke did nothing to instigate it and b) you can just imagine it happening to you, but then you get the snuff films and they're so raw and convincing that you're freaking screaming at the TV set for Luke and Kate to get out NOW! but they don't and oh crap now they're dead.

Seriously, I don't remember the last time I was that freaked out by a movie. I honestly had to remind myself that it was just a film and, fortunately, it was about that time that director Nimród Antal let up on the tension so I could breathe. And then he kept doing that for the rest of the movie. Tension. Release. Tension. Release. Oh crap they're dead. Oh good they're not. Oh crap yes they are.

Actually, I may buy it anyway just so I can show people what real, scary horror is supposed to look like.

Five out of five dings on the counter bell.

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