I had the pleasure of watching the first Vacancy movie in the theater, with my skittish wife clinging to me! Though Vacancy 2 didn't have lead actors like Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson, it was an enjoyable, and interesting, prequel. Like the first one, it was able to maintain a good level of suspense despite the audience already knowing everything about the operation. More than a few times, I was certain the movie was going in direction A and it went in direction B; I like it when that happens.
The best thing the movie had going for it was allowing the first couple--the just married couple--to go unscathed. This immediately raised questions for me as I expected the movie to jump right into the tormenting and killing. The two creepy motel guys even look at each other and say, "let's get to work," after the husband eagerly leaves the front desk. Once the couple peels out of the parking lot, we find that they are just making simple voyeur films at this point.
Next, we get this strange character who, unbeknownst to the motel guys, is a murderer and sets the whole operation we witness in Vacancy into motion. After the new snuff film operation is underway, the movie does a good job making you pull for the original two motel guys, but not for long. My attention began to wander during some of the narrow escape scenes with the three kids; it was rather mundane, but served its purpose.
Vacancy 2 is among the better prequels out there. It's not pulse-pounding suspense, and the gore level is moderate, but it definitely keeps you on edge in the way a realistic thriller does.
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