Fri, Jul 06, 2007 - Page 17 News List

There's plenty of room at the roach motel

This tumid filmic turd would send even the most anosmic of audiences running

By MANOHLA DARGIS  /  NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE, NEW YORK

PHOTO: COURTESY OF SONY

This banal horror retread involves a couple of critters flailing inside a sticky trap for what is, in effect, the big-screen equivalent of a roach motel. Luke Wilson, who could stand a career intervention, and Kate Beckinsale, the reigning queen of the bland B's, play a sniping couple who undergo a little unexpected marital therapy by landing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Having strayed off the Interstate one evening in the middle of nowhere, they end up in a motor inn run by Frank Whaley that, in the real world, would have been repackaged for its self-conscious retro-ugly hipster chic.

This being a movie, the motel is actually a charnel house in which the shag carpeting does little to muffle the screams of the dying. The gimmick here is that the butcher in residence likes to watch, you know, kind of like that Norman Bates guy, but with a video camera whirring, which means that the motel is a handy-dandy snuff-movie studio. The other director in residence, Nimrod Antal ("Kontroll"), tries to polish this junk with flashy camera work and some nitwit self-reflexivity - you see, we like to watch too - reserving most of his energy for the snuff-movie loops playing on monitors throughout the motel.

VACANCY

Directed By: Nimrod Antal

Starring: Luke Wilson (David Fox), Kate Beckinsale (Amy Fox), Frank Whaley (Mason), Ethan Embry (The Mechanic)

Running Time: 80 Minutes

Taiwan Release: Today


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