Every now and then I'll watch a slasher movie. So, when time came to review Vacancy 2: The First Cut, I decided it must be the right time. I didn't catch the first Vacancy film, but I knew the general idea well enough to follow where the sequel was going — especially since it was being billed as sort of a prequel. In the first Vacancy, a killer at an off-the-beaten-path motel, finds new victims and really gets into his work.
So I worked my way through Vacancy 2. Sometimes it's tough sledding for me to get through a slasher picture. It's not that I don't like blood, gore, and violence. I'm your typical American Male. I can stand a good amount of those elements. Vacancy 2 has a story that flows nicely back into the story from the first movie. Unfortunately it takes far too long to develop.
Yes, things happen.
Yes, characters fall into familiar traps found in most slasher movies.
But it really didn't get going for me until the second half when the young couple and their friend enter the picture. Then things get interesting.
The setup is simple. A couple of guys manage a small, out-of-the-way motel off a little traveled road. They have installed cameras in a particular bungalow, which allow them not only to watch what goes on in the room, but record it for a trucker (David Shackleford) and make a little money on the side. David Moscow plays the creepy hotel manager, and Brian Klugman plays the hapless hotel employee. It's sort of like a perverted version of the Three Stooges. The trucker is Moe, the hotel manager is Curly or Shemp, and the hotel lackey is Larry. They're a bumbling group who will eventually get caught.
When a killer (Scott G. Anderson reprising his role as Mr. Smith from the first Vacancy movie) checks into the hotel to take care of his latest victim, Curly and Larry call in Moe and they strike a deal with the killer. Snuff films sell even better than bad hotel camera pornography evidently.
So they cut the killer into their deal and lie in wait for some poor unsuspecting victims to be the stars of their next snuff movie. This for me was when the movie got going.
Caleb (Trevor Wright) and Jessica (Agnes Bruckner) are driving from Chicago on their way to their new lives in North Carolina. Their friend, the wise-cracking Tanner (Arjay Smith), is along to help with the move. The trio decides to check into the convenient roadside hotel for a nap and to get cleaned up for the last leg of their journey. Who knew they'd be driving into a trap by this group of psychopaths who want to film their murders and sell it for a profit?
I was a bit amused as I was ticking off the various trappings of a modern slasher movie. Psycho killer? Check. Prostitute? Check. Newlyweds and newly engaged couples, all below the age of 25? Check. A hotel in the middle of nowhere? Check. Creepy banjo music? Well, no creepy banjo music, but you get the idea.
As a viewer who hasn't seen a slasher film in a while, they don't seem to have matured much in the last five or six years.
That said, I think director Eric Bross did about as well as he could with the script. I just wish the first half of the film had been a bit better.
The DVD includes a number of extras including a few features, deleted scenes, previews, and commentary. The commentary is with Bross, producer Hal Lieberman, executive producer Brian Paschal, Bruckner, and Moscow as they discuss the film.
The three deleted scenes didn't really add much to the film, so it was easy to see why they were cut:
- Larry & Mr. Smith dragging the first body out of the motel room under the supervision of the truck driver and the hotel manager
- A scene where Jessica flags down a car after the whole incident
- And a bit more of the Sheriff exploring the crime scene at the end
In addition, there are a couple of features:
- "Caught on Tape: Behind the Scenes of Vacancy 2" – The cast and crew talk about producing the movie and how the movie came together.
- "Behind the Facade: Constructing the Meadow View Inn" – The lot where they started was an empty parking lot and they built the Meadow View Inn. They pre-fabricated as much as possible, then moved it and set it up. It was interesting seeing the set construction from a financial and production standpoint.
And there were a number of trailers:
- Boogeyman 3
- Balls Out: Gary the Tennis Coach
- The Grudge 3
- The Devil's Chair
- The Lodger
- Anaconda: Trail of Blood
- and Red Sands
Vacancy 2: The First Cut is definitely R rated for a reason with lots of blood, violence, language, and some sexual content. In my opinion, it wasn't the best slasher movie I've seen lately. But if you like slasher movies, there's probably enough here to wet your appetite.