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“Vacancy” gives a vacancy of originality

April 26th, 2007

Why does it seem that all horror movies these days follow the same plot lines and contain the same clichés? A man and woman are traveling on a road trip through the night and mistakenly take a wrong turn to end up in a deserted town.

The friendly guy at the local gas station points the lost couple in the right direction, but has secretly done something to their car so it breaks down a mile down the road. Without any cell phone service, the only option is to stay at the Pinewood Motel.

David Fox (Luke Wilson) and wife Amy (Kate Beckinsale) trapped in their hotel room while murderers wait outside to execute them.

David Fox (Luke Wilson) and wife Amy (Kate Beckinsale) trapped in their hotel room while murderers wait outside to execute them.

David Fox (Luke Wilson) and his wife, Amy (Kate Beckinsale), are a young couple that just don’t seem to be getting along. Ever since the unfortunate death of the couple’s only son, married life hasn’t been so happy. With the divorce papers almost signed, the two are off on their last adventure together to see the in-laws.

The creepy hotel manager Mason (Frank Whaley), doesn’t seem to notice the tension between the couple and kindly insists that they take the honeymoon suite.

Instead of finding the token heart-shaped jacuzzi, the room is filled with cockroaches, filthy linens and unlabeled videotapes that turn out to be snuff films. Even worse, the gruesome murders caught on tape were performed in their hotel room.

Now, they are trapped with killers outside waiting to execute them. So, the couple must explore their options. They can stay inside the room where they’re doomed to be slaughtered or make a run for it. Oh, but those bad guys are tricky. Mason, the weird hotel manager, has cameras set up all over the hotel to watch his victims’ every move. (Haven’t I seen this movie before?)

With nowhere to run, it looks like it’s only a matter of time until David and Amy are the stars of the next caught-on-tape killing. After searching around the hotel room for a way to escape, David stumbles upon a secret door that leads to an underground labyrinth. The two figure that the maze must lead somewhere safe, but it only gets them in more trouble.

Fast-forward a couple death scenes and you’ve got yourself another run-of-the-mill horror flick. Viewers are bound to be disappointed because every scene in the movie can be anticipated from the start.

And another thing, why do people always get shot or stabbed, but don’t die? You can’t come back from the dead! Bad casting, bad plot, bad idea. Give me my two hours back.