Vacancy 2 (2008)
By: Devon B. on March 24, 2013 | Comments
Sony | Region 4, PAL | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 5.1 | 82 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Vacancy 2 Cover Art
Credits
Director: Eric Bross
Starring: Agnes Bruckner, David Moscow, Scott G. Anderson, Arjay Smith
Screenplay: Mark L. Smith
Country: USA
External Links
IMDB Purchase YouTube
For the first half or so of the film I was pleasantly surprised with Vacancy, because I'd been expecting utter crap and I found it was well made and competent. Then the movie took a turn and I was like, "I wonder where it'll be able to go from here?" The answer was it went someplace so stupid it ruined the movie. So, after not really liking the first movie, I naturally decided I'd have to watch the sequel… except it's not a sequel, it's one of those pesky prequels. Perhaps to prevent people being put off by a prequel, Sony Australia have played down the prequel side of things and just called this Vacancy 2 on the cover as opposed to Vacancy 2: The First Cut, which is the full title and the name as it appears on the screen. In fact, the synopsis doesn't give any clues to the prequel status either so clearly Sony didn't think that was a selling point.

Vacancy 2 starts in some familiar territory, with a newlywed couple stopping at a scungy motel. The couple have taken a break at the wrong place because the staff are using spy cams to make unauthorised porn. Later the staff catch a killer in the act, and they all decide since they've already got the illegal porn ring going, hey, why not start adding snuff films to the repertoire? They set up their new operation and then three disposable youths happen upon the motel.

The budget has been lessened, so Vacancy 2 has the feel of an inferior sequel, and the loss of bigger stars of the first film and that Pulp Fiction guy makes the proceedings feel lower rent. Instead of the slightly interesting dynamic of the couple in Vacancy, here it's more clichéd fodder for the knife, a "funny" black guy and a young couple in love.

As with its prequel… oh, fuck, I can't call Vacancy that, can I? See, that's another reason prequels are dumb. As with Vacancy, Vacancy 2 is competent and I wasn't ever really bored, but it's nothing unique, and the only surprises come when the story stumbles into the inane. The film suffers a plot point that's not as ridiculous as the first movie's Achilles Heel, but it's still impossible to believe, and I'm not just talking about the notion of a snuff film ring. The reason for the similar levels of improbability is no doubt because scriptwriter Mark L. Smith has returned to dream up more convenient plotting to make everything fall into place easily.

One of the big problems with prequels is that to some extent the audience knows what's going to happen, so the only purpose is to give further insight into characters or situations. There's not a lot of insight needed for a movie about a snuff film ring, so the movie just feels like a pointless rehash of its predecessor. The filmmakers thankfully go for broke to ensure there won't be another prequel, by making sure that a lot of the techniques on display in Vacancy are quickly developed on the first night of business.

It's not a travesty, but Vacancy 2 is a cash-in sequel to a movie that wasn't that good in the first place. At least it's short, so it moves quickly.
The Disc
The film is set mostly at night, so there's a lot of darkness and the transfer handles the blacks well. The film looks sharp and clean, so on the video side Vacancy 2's a winner. The 5.1 track is less impressive, but it's not down to the transfer. There's just not a lot of action in the movie, so aside from some wind and a few gunshots, it's really just the score that utilises the rear speakers.

The DVD has a commentary, two featurettes, three deleted/extended scenes that don't add much and trailers for Quarantine, Frozen River, Big Stan, Dying Breed and Sex Drive. The commentary is with the director, two producers and two of the stars. Despite having five people involved the track doesn't feel too crowded. The group seem to have a good rapport as they share their anecdotes, though they seem to think the movie's more complex than it is. Not surprisingly it's often mentioned how fast they all had to work, and the speed required must've allowed quality control to slip by the wayside. The first featurette is a 13 minute behind the scenes that further discusses the consistent feel between the two films, but is mostly general behind the scenes and interviews. The second featurette is a shorter one about the sets. I'm sure somewhere there's someone that cares about that.
The Verdict
In his review on this site, J.R. described Vacancy as a half-ass amalgamation of torture porn and Hitchcockian thriller, and the sequel is more of the same but slightly less stupid but also slightly less assured.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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