Saturday, July 24, 2010

Blockbuster Trash: Vacancy 2

Really?  Is this really necessary?  I mean, is there so much story that was left untold in the first film that a second one was required?  Oh, I see- this is a prequel.  For those of you who either didn't see the movie (guilty) or don't know what Wikipedia is (innocent), Vacancy tells the tale of a couple who are hunted down by crazed hotel owners who film their victims' deaths and sell the snuff films.  In the film, it's established that everyone who's been here has been killed.  So, gee, I wonder if these people survive?!?  The big problem here is that you're taking all of the mystery out of the equation.  In movies like Vacancy, The Strangers or Funny Games, the killers' motivations is unknown- making it all the more freaky.  It's a case of 'why do these people want me dead?!?'  Well, when you answer it, who cares?  When all the mystery and mystique is gone, they're just people with sharp/blunt objects that kill other people- big deal!  Imagine if The Texas Chainsaw Massacre spent the first 30-45 minutes talking about how crazy the family was and then had the horror occur.  Would it be as frightening?  No.  Now that I've established how pointless and asinine the entire idea of this movie is, let's discuss it in great detail.  Get out your handy-cams for my review of...
The film begins with a young, Japanese couple driving down the road very quickly.  As newlyweds, they're anxious to 'bomb each others Pearl Harbors,' if you catch my drift.  They go to the hotel and check in for the night.  Nah, they're just there to screw.  In the back offices, we can see the familiar hotel employees eyeing the proceedings.  At least they don't bother pretending that it's a surprise that they have cameras- one point for them.  Before anything really happens on-camera, we get an awkward wipe and the couple leave, speeding off into the night.  I'm sorry- were you expecting them to get killed?  Yeah, they just make amateur naughty-flicks apparently?  One of their friends comes in from his trucking route and talks about how the tapes aren't selling as well as they used to.  Just in time, another man shows up with a young woman in tow.  They go to their room in a hurry, with similar results.  What's not so similar, however, is that he chokes her to death and stabs her.  Okay, that part wasn't necessary, was it?  In an odd twist, the men are shocked by what they see and decide to attack the guy.  I guess there's a fine line between filming people illegally while they 'make whoopee' and actually committing murder.  They tie up the man and talk about what to do with him.  He makes them an offer- he'll teach them how to make snuff films and sell those instead.  In a rather silly moment, they agree with him without much debate.  That's...not logical, but alright.
By the way, the film's main characters are so important that they only show up now.  It's one thing for us to know that they're mostly just stabbing fodder, but it's another thing for you to announce it so loudly!  Our main heroes are an odd trio- a young couple visiting the girlfriend's parents and their black friend that comes along for the ride.  You may think that I'm over-simplifying things here, but that's pretty much it.  We get some little touches of drama where the guy is worried about going there when the girlfriend is recently pregnant, but that's about it.  In fact, once the action picks up, all characterization really goes out the window.  I love lazy writing, don't you?  They end up at the hotel to rest up for the night, the couple actually getting a room.  There's an actual plot point about the group of now-killers not knowing about his presence, but that lasts all of five minutes.  When the couple gets alone, they start to do 'you-know-what.'  Fortunately or unfortunately, their black friend goes channel-surfing and stumbles across the video feed for their room.  You guys have been making hidden-camera tapes for a long time and never figured out a way around that?!?  He explains the truth about the taping to them, which somewhat upsets them . Naturally, the group of killers does not feel too keen about letting them leave.
The movie oddly chooses to rush through some parts and linger upon others for too long.  Within a very short time, the escape turns sour and the fiancee gets captured.  He ends up being tortured and killed within minutes by the lead murderer.  Shows how important you were, huh?  The odd couple pair sneak around for a while, engage in some minor scuffles and actually get away.  Short movie, but I guess it could be...nah, it's not that easy.  They end up at a friendly house, only to learn that the man of the house is friendly to the killers.  Why?  They never say.  Before we get an explanation, the lead killer blows the couple away, leading to another chase.  The pair both end up back at the hotel, with the black guy dying off-camera.  The craziest of the group decides to torture the girl for a while, but she manages to escape and wound him in the face.  Wow, you suck as a killer, especially for someone who's so obsessed with it.  It's like being a swimmer who can't float!  Anyhow, she eludes capture for a while, proving to be the most durable of the cast.  She even sets one of the men on fire and kills another one before escaping.  In the aftermath, the group escape the building, dispose of all of the evidence- including the bodies- which leads to the police to not believe the girl's story.  Seriously, it just ends like that.  The bad guys get away to kill another the original.  Feh.
This movie doubly-sucks.  As a sequel to the original film, it is just a straight-up example of being a copycat.  The formula is not changed, nothing new is done and it just underwhelms.  As a prequel to the film, it really sucks.  On one hand, they do set-up the group turning into killers...even if it makes no sense.  As a logical set-up though, it just makes no sense.  They completely scrub a crime scene within hours and simply move somewhere else?  Bullshit!  Do you really expect me to believe that just because you had to let the Final Girl escape?  If you want to write yourself into a corner, fine- just don't drag me down with you.  Aside from that, the acting is alright.  The main characters are nothing to write home about, leaving us just with the cast of killers to appease us.  Yeah, they don't do that too well either.  The only remotely-interesting one is the killer they bring in, if only because he's so good at being intense.  Once you get past that, he's just a one-dimensional killer.  If you're a gore-hound, there's not a lot of deaths in here.  You can count the number of kills on one hand, which is odd for a film of this genre.  A lot could have been done with this idea, you know.  We could have seen a traumatic event turn the people into killers.  We could have seen them take a slow descent into madness due to the lure of power and/or money.  Instead, they just become killers because...well, one guy suggested it.  There's not a lot to recommend here, folks.
Up next, I take the holiest day of the week to discuss a film involving demons, bloodshed and the slaughtering of unborn children.  Bonus points for it being a cartoon and a shameless marketing tie-in.  Stay tuned...

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