Rated 4.0

It’s surprising what a difference strong actors can make in the fate of a horror film. Vacancy is no cinematic masterpiece—but put Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale in the lead roles and you have a solid step up from the usual B-movie horror junk out there. The two play David and Amy Fox, a couple on the verge of divorce who, after an ill-advised detour on their way home, end up with a dead engine in the middle of nowhere. With no mechanics in sight, they check in to the nearby Pinewood Motel—they’re the only guests, so the manager (Frank Whaley) gives them a free upgrade to the honeymoon suite. After playing a few of the beat-up VHS tapes left lying around, the Foxes soon realize they’re about to be the stars of a snuff film, so they plan their escape, only to find the killers are just outside the door. The plot is not very complicated, but it is genuinely scary. Kudos to Nimród Antal on his U.S. film debut—and on making a horror flick that’s actually worth watching.