The First Cut's Not the Deepest
The original "Vacancy" was a pleasant surprise of a movie as it ended up more than just a typical slasher movie; it had style and some ingenuity as well as atmosphere. But like so many movies it was self contained and didn't need a sequel but you know how it goes, when a movie makes money the studios like to capitalize and so we got "Vacancy 2: The First Cut" a prequel rather than a sequel. Now in fairness that's not a bad idea, a movie which details how they came to be making snuff movies at the Meadow View Inn had some potential but the outcome ends up not much more than an average remake.
Gordon (David Moscow - Honey) and Reece (Brian Klugman) had their only little set up going at the Meadow View Inn using hidden cameras to record randy couples in their rooms before selling it on to their distributor. What they weren't expecting when a man called Smith (Scott G. Anderson) shows up with a young woman to find themselves recording a murder. With it being impossible to go to the police as they will end up being done for their secret porn industry they end up forming and unusual alliance with Smith to make secretly recorded snuff movies. A few weeks later a young couple Jessica (Agnes Bruckner) and Caleb (Trevor Wright) arrive with their friend Tanner (Arjay Smith) on the way to her father's. The question is will they ever leave?
The best part of "Vacancy 2: The First Cut" is the initial set up as we enter the inn thanks to a couple of randy new weds who stop off for a quick session in a room whilst we witness owners Gordon and Reece watching the hidden camera footage. Then it gets interesting as Smith arrives and we watch as he puts a sheet of plastic over a bed and proceeds to violently stab a young woman numerous times in the back. It's not that it is a clever opening but is an imaginative way to establish how Meadow View came to be the killing inn.
Unfortunately after that it just ends up a slight twist on the original as whilst it focuses on the first murder we see how the young guests discover that they are being videoed and then have to deal with trying to get away. Yes their car wont start so they are trapped and the ominous Smith is enjoying the idea of killing them. There isn't anything terrible about it when you compare it to other movies or even the original but it is all extremely ordinary.
In many ways the worst thing about this sequel and in fairness a fault of many horror movies is the characters. Yes we have a nice looking younger cast but the characters are basically plonked into the movie and we never really learn much about them or see them change in the desperate situation. Even the hotel owners and the ominous Smith have no growth at all and are just creepy people.
What this all boils down to is that "Vacancy 2: The First Cut" isn't a bad movie just an ordinary slasher movie. Yes it is disappointing that it fails to be as good as the original and is nothing more than a money driven movie but if you want some slasher thrills it succeeds.