Monday 15 September 2008


Vacancy is a scary movie set in the middle of nowhere, USA, and starring Kate Beckinsale (daughter of the late great Richard) and Luke Wilson, of whom I must confess I’ve never heard. They play a bickering couple who are driving through the night, on their way to get a divorce after the death of their child has wrecked their marriage.

The movie has its share of standard plot elements, and when the car runs into trouble, they make a forseeably bad move in stopping at a dodgy-looking garage and motel and trusting a weird mechanic to sort it out for them. When, predictably, the car quickly breaks down, they walk back to the motel, where an almost risibly creepy manager offers them ‘the honeymoon suite’.

So far, so ordinary. But things take a fresh turn when the couple go to their room. Bad stuff starts to happen, and the conventional fare quickly becomes genuinely terrifying.

Kate Beckinsale is a truly beautiful woman, but here her looks don’t play much of a part. It’s all about her fight for survival, and she does a good job with her role. Wilson, although far from charismatic, is quite good as Mr Average confronted with a nightmare.

All in all, I enjoyed the film much more than I was expecting after the first ten minutes. And apparently it has gained enough admirers to warrant a sequel.


Uriah Robinson said...

Kate's father Richard Beckinsale starred in two of the greatest TV comedies of all time.

Rising Damp with Leonard Rossiter , Don Warrington [now advertising Kenco coffee] and the wonderful Frances de La Tour.
Porridge with Ronnie Barker, who played the part of Fletcher a strange coincidence in view of your previous post.

Richard Beckinsale's death at the young age of 31 was a tragedy not only for his family but for those of us who love great comedy.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Richard Beckinsale was a lovely young innocent rogue, if that is not a contradiction in terms. I believe he has two actress daughters, the one mentioned here and another one (I think possibly called Samantha) who was in "London's Burning", a TV series about the fire service.

Anyway, a sad loss. I will always remember him as the kind of hapless charmer in Porridge. Not so sure about Kate, though, I saw her in Emma and did not think too much of it, though everyone was severely hampered by Mr Knightley being far too young (Jeremy Northam in an early-ish role? Or was that the Gwynneth Paltrow version? My memory is so poor, sorry.).

Martin Edwards said...

Uriah, I very much agree. And I still remember the sense of shock when he died. And, the sense of shock when Rossiter, although older, died in the 1980s. He was another brilliant comic actor.

Maxine, I haven't seen Emma the film, but it is one of my favourite non-crime books, and Reg Hill has a theory that it replicates the pattern of the detective story.