Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Perfect Mimes

For starters, if I own a BMW, I'll make sure I have a baseball bat handy and near enough for that occasional road rage, and am sure as hell gonna bring it along with me if my car stalls and I need to journey into the night. And to remember never to bicker incessantly with my wife because she's always right, and everyone else deserves to have their heads bash in because otherwise, they'll snuff us.

Clocking in at a mere 80 minutes thereabout, Vacancy seemed like a decent thrill-a-minute ride, with Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale playing an estranged Fox couple, spending the first 20 of those precious minutes arguing for the most parts inside their BMW. They take their time to set themselves up for the fall, and in the process fail to heed the warning signs which you can learn all about in the movie Scream. The person who's helping you has ulterior motives usually designed to get you in harm's way, and everything that is too conveniently true, well, surely is.

You can't help but to feel that director Nimrod Antal (who directed the excellent Kontroll) was somewhat hampered by the formulaic script written by Mark L Smith. Instead of having the perpetrators stay one step ahead and in turn keeping our victims on their toes, what you experience is yourself predicting how the movie will turn out, every single step of the way, right down to pointing out where shadows will appear, and which scene will have that throwaway jump shot to elicit some cheap screams. Not surprisingly, nobody in the theatre I was watching this in felt any adrenaline rush, as they reeked of a sense of familiarity - you know who the villains are, you know what will happen to cops, and worse, Vacancy followed recent peer flicks like Wolf Creek and the likes to exhibit some girl power.

Perhaps the only scenes which will get your heart pumping, are the snuff films on display, albeit at times strategically cut away. Watching those aged films did bring on some pity at the least, that there are sickos out there who make these films for sheer pleasure and profit. And having realize that they are in dire straits, the Foxes begin figuring out in double quick time just how to survive the horrendous (in both sense of the word) night.

But it's not all hopeless though, if you haven't experienced much of the movies from the same genre, then you might find Vacancy entertaining. There was something I enjoyed watching though (no, it's not Beckinsale, who still looked stunning despite having to exhibit fear throughout), and that's the beautiful main and end titles. They're wonderfully designed, and they just work. Those who have a font fetish, will most likely go ga-ga over them.

Vacancy showed promise, but as you soon realize, it's nothing much other than a rehash of familiar plots and situations. Oh Beckinsale should go all vampirish on her hunters!

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