Experience the gruesome beginnings of Mr. Smith and his hotel of horrors in this terrifying prequel to Vacancy, starring Agnes Bruckner (Murder by Numbers). Suspecting only a night of hard beds and tacky décor, Caleb, his sexy new fiancée Jessica and his sarcastic best friend Tanner, check into the Meadow View Inn. They have no idea that it is not just another lonely motel, but a horrific trap where guests are brutally tortured and murdered while the sadistic maniac Mr. Smith and his greedy accomplices film the grisly slayings for profit. Caught in a deadly game or cat and mouse, the three young friends now must fight to survive.
"Make sure you get it on camera!" That's the creepy mantra of the killers in Vacancy 2: The First Cut
, a prequel to 2007's Vacancy
. And why not a prequel? The premise of Vacancy
, with its motel room rigged with video cameras (to film the murders of the unsuspecting boarders), was already in place at the beginning of that movie. So here's the backstory. One of the killers from the first film (played by Scott G. Anderson) is back, helping refine the system of instant snuff filmmaking, along with help from two mutton-headed Peeping Toms (David Moscow and Brian Klugman). Their main target this time is a trio of travelers: snuggly lovers Agnes Bruckner and Trevor Wright, and obnoxious third wheel Arjay Smith. Among the film's decent surprises (and there are a few of them) is the fact that the body count doesn't go in exactly the order you might suspect--and the whole movie actually begins with a pretty good fakeroo in that department. Nothing in the picture, which was penned by Vacation
scribe Mark L. Smith, is anything more than basic chase-'n-slash, but director Eric Bross keeps the thing moving swiftly along. It also has the advantage of a real actress, Bruckner, who was so good in Blue Car
as a teenager. Vacancy 2
went straight to DVD, and one couldn't make a case for theatrical release; but as straight-to-DVD goes, it's cut (sorry) above the average. --Robert Horton