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How's that for a twist?
By BRETT MICHEL  |  April 25, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars

VIDEO: Watch the trailer for Vacancy.

What’s happened to the horror film? Rather than experiencing terror rise from the unknown (and unseen), audiences are “treated” to fetishized torture and murder, with grisly “money shots” designed to get them off — “torture porn,” in media parlance. Nimród Antal, no stranger to dark spaces (witness his moody 2003 debut, the Hungarian Kontroll), acknowledges this distasteful trend but also rejects it. His smart, efficient throwback to a more Hitchcockian era finds bickering David and Amy Fox (Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale) stranded at a secluded motel after their car breaks down. Before you can say “Norman Bates,” they meet Mason (Frank Whaley, believably backwoods), a proprietor with a profitable side gig producing videos in which his guests are — yes — tortured to death. Antal might disappoint viewers conditioned to twist endings, but his skillful use of sound and shadow over on-screen viscera truly chills. How’s that for a twist?
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