Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Vacancy, and Vacancy The First Cut - Reviews

First off, last Friday in time for Halloween the amazing Zombies Ate my Neighbours came out for the virtual console! It's the Super NES version of the game, and is fantastic. Only noticed it this morning, so snapped it up right away.

I never really felt like watching Vacancy. From the trailers it looked like it was going to be in the Torture Porn genre of horror. While every now and again they can be fun, it's not a genre I watch that often. I was pleasently surprised to find out that Vacancy is in fact an original, and great thriller. The film also had some famous names in it, such as Kate Beckinsale and a man who apparantly is quite famous (can't recall his name)

Vacancy is about a soon to be divorced couple who are travelling home from a party. They got lost in the back roads of middle America. After getting engine trouble they stop at a remote garage next to a cruddy Motel. The mechanic 'fixes' thier car and they set off only for the car to die a couple of miles on. So they walk back and decide to stay overnight at the motel which is run by a seedy manager. After getting to thier room the man decides to watch some TV. Putting on one of the cassette tapes there he discovers it is what appears to be a snuff film, then horrified he discovers that the room in which the murders on tape are taking place is in fact the very same room him and his wife are in. Madness quickly ensures, and a night of violence as him and his wife attempt to fend off the crazed Motel staff who are intent on killing them both to add to thier snuff film business.

The film amps up really well, starting with a vague uneasiness and ramping up to terror. It is really well paced, and the sense of these two people being utterly isolated and trapped is well realised. The killers themselves (wearing strange blue masks) are kinda sinister in thier silence, and nods to the Motels past (such as a room full of hundreds of videotapes) create the feeling that this is just routine for the killers adding to the fear.

The soundtrack fits the films tone well, and is excellantly shot, and looks great. The film ends satisfactory also, which is always good. Recommended.

Now for the 2nd Vacation, entitled Vacation: First Cut. The film is a prequel (not a spoiler as in the first few seconds of the film it states this) and is about the very first snuff film made by the sick Motel staff. Staff at a different Motel to that of the first secretly record couples sleeping together to sell to a Trucker for his porn business. But one night as they are filming a couple they watch in horror as the man brutally murders the woman he is with. Realising they can't involve the Police (as it would reveal thier Porn operation) they instead capture the killer. The serial killer suggest to them that they could start making snuff films instead of Porn. The Trucker tells the Motel staff that there is a market for snuff films, so they grudgingly agree. Soon a group of 3 turn up at the Motel, the staff put thier fiendish plan into action, but the serial killer turns out to be a loose cannon...

First off, the film is nowhere near as good as the first Vacancy. The budget is obviously lower, and the actual plot is not as good, or scary as the original. The characters are less likeable, and it's really distracting that the Motel owner looks identical to that of the Motel owner of the first film, and yet is not actually that character. Apparantly the serial killer is also in Vacancy one, but I didn't even realise this untill I Wikied it.

It's interesting to see how the Snuff film trade started, but it is clumisly done, and confusing also. Still it is entertaining, and worth seeing if you enjoyed the first.

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