Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Nimród Antal|
|Produced by||Hal Lieberman|
|Written by||Mark L. Smith|
|Music by||Paul Haslinger|
|Edited by||Armen Minasian|
Hal Lieberman Company
|Distributed by||Screen Gems|
|Box office||$35.3 million|
Vacancy is a 2007 American horror film directed by Nimród Antal and starring Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson. It was released April 20, 2007, by the distributor Screen Gems. Early in the film's development, it was thought Sarah Jessica Parker would star; but, in September 2006, The Hollywood Reporter announced Kate Beckinsale had been signed instead.
On their way home from a family party, David (Luke Wilson) and Amy Fox (Kate Beckinsale)--who are on the verge of divorce after a family tragedy drove them apart—take a wrong turn on a remote mountain road. When their car breaks down, they find there is no cell phone reception and walk back to a motel across from an auto repair garage where they'd stopped earlier. When they arrive, there are no cars in the parking lot. At the office, they hear piercing screams coming from the back room. The motel manager, Mason (Frank Whaley), appears and explains that the noises are coming from the television. They book a room for the night.
In their room, they hear loud, insistent banging on their door and the door to the adjacent room, and they receive anonymous phonecalls. David tells Mason about the situation, but Mason tells David that’s impossible because they are his only guests at the motel. David protests, saying there is someone else at the motel, and Mason says he’ll take care of it. Back in the room, David looks for something to do, and watches some of the videotapes that were left on top of their room's TV. At first they seem to be horror movies—but then David realizes they are snuff films that were made in their room. He searches the room, finds hidden security cameras, and concludes that Mason is watching them.
In the bathroom, they are astonished to find the apple Amy left in the car. They flee the room and head for the woods but are confronted by two men dressed in blue and wearing masks, so they return to the room and lock the door. David runs to the motel's payphone and dials 911, but Mason answers. David escapes the phone booth just before the men crash their car into it and chase him back to the room.
In the room, David and Amy hear a truck pull into the parking lot. From the window, they attract the driver's (Mark Casella) attention, but Mason and the men in masks appear behind him, and they realize he is there to buy the snuff films. David and Amy discover a trapdoor in the bathroom, leading to a tunnel the men must have used to leave the apple. They follow it to the manager's office, where they find video monitors taping the entire motel. Amy calls the police, but is interrupted by Mason before she can give the dispatcher any useful information.
Followed by two of the masked men, they sneak back into the tunnel and take a different route, ending up in the auto garage across from the motel. They exit the tunnel and put heavy items on the trapdoor. Meanwhile, a sheriff's deputy (David Doty) appears, responding to Amy's call. Mason offers to show the officer around, and leaves to fetch a set of keys while the officer continues to search. The officer finds tapes in one of the rooms and, realizing the nature of the hotel, flees. David and Amy run to him, and they all enter the police car. They find the engine wire has been cut; and, when the officer gets out to check under the hood, the masked men kill him. David and Amy flee into one of the other motel rooms.
David hides Amy inside the ceiling. He opens the door of the room, planning to get a revolver he saw in Mason's office, but the killers surprise and stab him. He collapses, as Amy watches from above. In the morning, Amy comes down and finds the killers' car. As she drives away, a killer breaks into the car from the sun roof and, in her effort to fend him off while driving, she crashes the car into the motel, killing her attacker and one of the other masked men, revealed to be the gas station attendant (Ethan Embry) who "helped" the couple earlier. Amy runs into the motel's lobby, where she finds the revolver.
Mason enters, knocks the revolver from Amy's hands, and attempts to strangle her with the cord from the office's phone, as he simultaneously records the struggle with his handheld video camera. As they struggle, Mason throws Amy down within reach of the revolver. She grabs it and shoots Mason three times, fatally wounding him. Amy runs to David to find that he is still alive, but in serious need of help. She searches Mason's corpse for the telephone cord he used, calls 911 again, and returns to comfort David while they wait for the police to arrive.
- Luke Wilson as David Fox
- Kate Beckinsale as Amy Fox
- Frank Whaley as Mason
- Ethan Embry as the Mechanic
- Scott G. Anderson as the Killer
Vacancy opened at #4 in its first week at the box office grossing $7.6 million at 2,551 locations. In its second week, the film had a 45.9% drop-off, falling to a #8 position. The film has grossed a total of $35.3 million worldwide.
Vacancy was released on DVD on August 14, 2007 in both fullscreen and anamorphic widescreen, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Special features include deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, the full versions of the snuff films, and a trailer gallery. It was also released on Blu-ray Disc and UMD for the PSP. Many versions shipped to Australia featured Sony DVD "anti-piracy" technology, which led to them being unreadable on most DVD players, including Sony DVD players. The DVD featured a commentary by Nimrod Antal, Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson, all of whom said they thought the film was a great addition to the horror genre and for not using gore for scares but using psychological horror.
Advertising and promotion
The advertising strategy for the film made use of the Internet as well as a toll-free phone number. In addition to the TV spots and trailers shown in theaters and on television, the toll free number was made to sound as if one is actually calling the motel in which the film is set. In the background, screaming can be heard accompanying the voice of the proprietor, who informs callers about "slashing" prices and the "killer" deals that the motel has—if it has a vacancy. The voice of the proprietor is Frank Whaley's. As of August 7, 2015, the toll-free phone number is no longer valid.
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Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 56% of 121 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.5/10. The site's consensus reads: "Vacancy's restraint with gore is commendable, the thin characters and B-movie cliches less so." Metacritic rated it 54/100 based on 27 reviews.
Vacancy 2: The First Cut was released in 2008. Written by Mark L. Smith, and directed by Eric Bross, it serves as a prequel, and focuses on how the motel's employees started their tortures. The film stars Agnes Bruckner and Trevor Wright.
- "Vacancy". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
- Schneider, Karl (2006-09-11). "Kate Beckinsale joins Vacancy". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2006-08-26. Retrieved 2006-01-02.
- Jane, Ian (2007-08-07). "Vacancy". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
- "Vacancy (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
- "Vacancy". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-12-22.
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