I'm as surprised as you might be that I'm recommending Vacancy this week–and not just because it's directed by a Nimrod. I kind of remember when it opened, there were some good reviews, one said it was a real modern grindhouse flick in contrast to the Tarantino/Rodriguez flop that opened the same week. But, you know, lots of bad movies get good reviews. Who could honestly expect to get scared by a Luke Wilson movie anyway?
We put it on late at night in one of those, “lets watch it because it's in HD” moods. I half expected to fall asleep but in this movie, sleep would have been impossible. After just enough set up for the main characters, a fighting divorcing couple played by Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson, to seem like humans rather than horror movie fodder, the tension sets in quickly and doesn't let up. My heart was actually racing, and I felt almost uncomfortably tense watching the action unfold. It's a simple premise: the couple is caught in the middle of nowhere by people that want to kill them and they try to survive.
The movie excels where so many others fail. There's no exposition, no monologues by the bad guys, no superhuman heroics, no dumb actions committed just to make the plot work, no unnecessary gore. It ends abruptly once its done its job of totally creeping you out, forgoing the cheesy tacked-on ending.
It's not a movie you can watch repeatedly and it's no classic that will be remembered for years to come. But, especially if you go into it without too many expectations, it's a genuinely nerve-wracking, straight forward horror movie, the kind I wish was made more often.