No Vacancy

| July 1, 2014

I’m reluctant to even try to avoid spoilers on this one since No Vacancy is so unbelievably obvious in its execution that its insulting that it thinks it’s successfully deceiving its audience.  The story is about a group of twenty-somethings taking a road trip to Las Vegas when two of their tires blow.  They find a nearby motel full of people more than willing to help, but soon find themselves in the middle of a deadly game.  The men and women working at the motel seemed so friendly until they tied up all of our heroes and started systematically executing them for seemingly no reason.

This is as generic a horror movie as you can get.  I can’t even tell you any of the character’s names from memory because they’re all flat, uninteresting, and interchangeable.  Beyond that, none of the characters are sympathetic; I didn’t care about any of them dying, and I wasn’t rooting for any of them to get away.  The women were boring, with the only character defining trait of any of them was that one wanted to be a porn star, or maybe not; it’s not clear how serious she is or how much she just likes attention.  The men were stock alphas who love to drink and scream and are incapable of monogamy.  There is a beta male with a video camera, but even he leaps at the chance to cheat on his girlfriend who couldn’t go on the trip.

The structure of the film makes very little sense.  The filmmakers had to find ways for our heroes to turn the tide on the villains, but all of their escape attempts are really implausible so it’s difficult to imagine that they would actually work in real life.  At one point, generic blonde girl is chained up between two trucks while her boyfriend helplessly watches and black guy is forced to take generic blonde villain girl hostage.  The bad guys let generic blonde girl go even though their armed and still have her and her boyfriend at their mercy, and even if black guy did kill generic blonde villain girl, they would just kill all three of them anyway.

It’s really annoying how the film tries to keep secrets from its audience and reveal them in significant ways.  We don’t see the face of the guy running the game as he watches everything on monitors in some back room.  As soon as the truck blows two tires, anyone with half a brain would think that was intentional, but it’s a major reveal in the end that the bad guys orchestrated that.  No kidding.  This just proves that our seven heroes don’t have half a brain to share.  Not sure the filmmakers do either since they didn’t realize that when a truck runs over a row of nails, all four tires pop, not just the back two.

This is lazy, ineffective filmmaking that does nothing but insult its audience and waste the time of everyone involved.  Don’t let it waste yours too.

Available now on DVD from Lionsgate.

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
Filed in: Video and DVD

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