Thank god for the introductory footnote at the beginning of this film which explains that VACANCY 2 is a prequel, I wouldn’t want to think the gang of morons at the center of this installment were actually the seasoned veterans of the first film just having a really bad day.
It seems the murderous videotaping crew from the Pinewood Motel must have got their start somewhere else, since VACANCY 2 opens at a decidedly different locale—this one is called the Meadow View Inn. I didn’t see any meadows, but…whatever. After all it was dark. The film kicks off with a horny pair of newlyweds stopping in for a little roadside nookie. Instead of killing the couple off in mid-coitis the sleazeballs who run this motel just video tape the pair getting it on and then sell the tapes off to some trucker that looks a little like Thomas Jane. When the next unsuspecting YouTube star shows up, the gang at the motel is in for a rude awaking. Instead of banging the girl he brought along, he stabs her a couple dozen times in the back with a bowie knife. Fearful that turning the killer into the cops will uncover their amateur porno ring, the motel morons and the trucker decide to bring Ted Bundy into the business. So, now the crew can kill off their unsuspecting customers and make a bundle peddling snuff films. Their first cast? Happy couple Caleb (Trevor Wright) and Jessica (Agnes Bruckner) and their annoying tag along friend Tanner (Arjay Smith).
Since this is the story of the first in a long series of murder victims I’ll let you take a quickie guess as to what happens in the film. Ok…so, since the ultimate ending is a foregone conclusion all the fun will have to be had in the journey right? Nope…dead wrong. VACANCY 2 is saturated with the most incredibly stupid characterizations and situations imaginable. On top of that, because the setting is different and only the serial killer (named Smith this time around, but still played by Scott G. Anderson) remains the same, the film is somewhat confusing at the beginning. But don’t worry if you get lost at the outset, cause thereafter the movie is exactly the same as the first one…except that the motel employees are completely inept. Which makes me ponder, just how stupid the victims must’ve been to actually be killed by the freakin’ Three Stooges?
Writer Mark L. Smith returns to pen this prequel which also makes me wonder if the original film was a fluke. I actually enjoyed VACANCY and its Hitchcockian nods, but Smith’s other film SÉANCE was tedious and amateurish. This time around the directing duties are taken over by Eric Bross (whose previous work includes the *NSYNC movie ON THE LINE—a film that was sadly more entertaining than this feature). Combined, I’ve got to wonder if either filmmaker cared about what was winding up on screen. The film is devoid of any suspense, rife with unintentional (I hope) humor and devoid of gratitutious nudity or gory violence (which considering the former and later occupations of the proprietors of the Meadow View Inn, is extra disappointing).
So many things fail in VACANCY 2 that it’s easy to take aim at Smith’s screenplay. Since he created this concept in the original movie he should have been able to flesh out the backstory with relative ease. But instead of an insightful and visceral thrill ride, establishing motivations and method, what we got was something more like what would happen if Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern’s characters from HOME ALONE decided to stop robbing houses and start torturing and murdering happy loving couples. Actually, that might have made for a more interesting film than this.
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House Mother (Short Film) - Written and Directed by Andrew Bowser
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