2007 horror thriller about a bickering couple, David and Amy (played by Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale), who are forced by circumstances to stop in a seedy motel. They find out the hotel owners make snuff movies with their guests as the "stars"/victims.
In 2008, a prequel titled Vacancy 2: The First Cut was released straight to video.
This movie contains examples of:
- Ambiguous Situation: The movie never actually reveals whether the "friendly" mechanic sabotaged their car or not.
- Ax-Crazy: The motel manager.
- Big Bad: Mason, the motel manager. He's the mastermind behind the snuff movies and the one who came with the idea of using the motel as a Death Trap.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: The manager's obsession with getting a "perfect shot" on his camcorder leads him to throw Amy within arm's reach of the second revolver, enabling her to kill him once and for all.
- Car Fu: Amy takes out the two masked killers this way.
- Chekhov's Gun: The second revolver. A slightly more subtle one is the cockroach that is seen disappearing under the bathroom rug - it is later revealed that there is a trapdoor under there.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Mason, when undergoing his Villainous Breakdown.
- Developing Doomed Characters: Arguably the first twenty minutes. Subverted, since the two main characters not only survive the events of the movie, but also show more traits of their own personalities.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Amy manages to kill each one of the killers after David's apparent Heroic Sacrifice. She then finds out that her husband is still alive despite the many wounds.
- Even Evil Has Standards: As much as the sadistic psychopath that he is, Mason appears to be genuinely saddened by the deaths of his friends, hence his rage towards Amy, though that could be because he can only relate to others like him.
- Faux Affably Evil: Mason, who acts as an endearingly awkward manager underneath his Ax-Crazy self. He even keeps ups this persona after the couple discovers his snuff film scheme until when two of his Mooks are killed and Amy attempts to outsmart him lead to his mean-spirited and temperamental Villainous Breakdown.
- Final Girl: Amy. It's played straight in the sense that Amy was the only one left to confront the killers upon David's supposed death, and she has to kill each one on her own. However, David is revealed to be alive at the end despite his wounds so both main characters actually survive.
- For the Evulz: Yes, they make money out of it, but the villains' main reason for shooting these films is pure, unadulterated fun.
- Genre Savvy: David has many Genre Savvy moments - one of them being when he thinks to check behind the shower curtain in case one of the killers is lurking there. There's nobody there, but hey, no harm in checking.
- Gorn: Surpsingly averted for this specific genre. The movie doesn't even really have any gore at all until the last 20 minutes. And even then it's not that much.
- Happy Marriage Charade: David and Amy are driving home from an anniversary party at Amy's parents' home; neither of them had the heart to admit to the rest of the family that they were getting a divorce.
- Hell Hotel: Of course.
- Inn of No Return
- Large Ham: Mason the manager.
- My Car Hates Me: David and Amy's car end up having problems at the beginning after a rather dangerous swerve to avoid hitting a racoon, and shortly dies after receiving some assistance when they first come upon the motel. It's never revealed if the villains actually sabotaged their car further.
- Obviously Evil: The motel manager.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Subverted: there are actually underground tunnels under the motel.
- Police Are Useless: If a police station receives a call in the middle of the night from a clearly-panicked woman (which gets promptly cut off) and then they send a patrolman to investigate the site of the call, and he doesn't come back or even so much as radio in (because he's been killed, obviously)... well, then, shouldn't you maybe send more officers to find out what the hell's going on!?!?!?
- Psycho for Hire: The men performing the murders are "actors" who make money off of the films they "perform" in, but primarily do it because they love to kill.
- Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: Teased in the finale. David and Amy's marriage is on the rocks, and they are on their way home from a family gathering to make final arrangements with a divorce lawyer. At the end of the film, having narrowly survived death at the hands of the psychopaths, Amy is inexpressibly relieved that David is still alive. It's left ambiguous whether they decide to stay married, but at least the open hostility is gone.
- Serial Killer: Killers, to be precise.
- Slasher Movie: The snuff films that the hotel manager develops seems to be inspired by this genre, featuring masked psychopaths that stalk and murder the guests and utilize Offscreen Teleportation (via a tunnel system). This, in turn, serves to make the actual movie very similar to other examples of a slasher film.
- Snuff Film
- Shout-Out: Obviously Psycho.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Amy crushes one of the masked killers against a wall with his own car. His mask falls off, revealing the friendly auto mechanic who helped her and David earlier.
- Villainous Breakdown: The motel manager suffers this at the climax, when he discovers two of his "actors" to be dead and goes into a Cluster F-Bomb when Amy attempts to outsmart him before resorting to ragingly gloating at Amy for trying to ruin his snuff filmmaking business and escape while attempting to film her death just when he thinks he manages to overpower her, before Amy uses a Groin Attack on him and finally blow him away with a revolver.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: It seems to be implied that Amy has a fear of rats.
The First Cut has examples of:
- Auto Erotica: The Asian newlyweds in early of the film try to have fun in their car in a remote location. They are then greeted by a man with shotgun, who tells them that they are on private property, which makes them to go to the Meadow View Inn next.
- Bloodier and Gorier: The film is much more violent than the first, with more visible bloodshed and less focus on suspense in favor of more straightforward brutality.
- Man on Fire: Jessica sets the Serial Killer Smith, who inspired the whole Snuff Film racket to begin with, on fire. As he flails around in pain, she makes her way to escape.
- Numbered Sequels: For a prequel, oddly.