Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 27
  2. Negative: 3 out of 27
  1. It's a sordid but expert shocker.
  2. 75
    Succeeds where so many other recent horror pictures have failed: It consistently scares you silly.
  3. 75
    The acting is solid, especially Whaley, whose nasty variation on Norman Bates is his showiest role since he memorably played Kevin Bacon's assistant in "Swimming With Sharks."
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Stylish and surprisingly effective thriller.
  5. 75
    For the most part, this movie hits the right notes and gives its audience a dose of white-knuckle tension.
  6. Vacancy is a schlock surprise: a no-frills motel-hell slasher film -- with a bit of soul.
  7. Reviewed by: Tim Grierson
    Antal smartly adheres to the no-frills demands of B-movie horror, eliciting impressive chills from old-fashioned suffocating dread rather than the now usual gore. And Wilson and Beckinsale superbly execute everything that's required of their characters--namely, yelling and running.
  8. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    A ruthlessly efficient stalk-and-slash machine.
  9. Reviewed by: Gene Seymour
    A mangy-looking mongrel with a lot of familiar markings and a little more on the ball than you'd expect at first glance.
  10. 67
    Making an assured transition to Hollywood after his Hungarian cult sensation "Kontroll," director Nimród Antal gets his business done with an efficiency that recalls "Red Eye," another thriller that clocks in under 90 minutes. But efficiency isn't everything, and Antal sacrifices too much in order to sustain tension.
  11. Short, sharp and to the point, Vacancy has a single goal, and that is to scare the hell out of you.
  12. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    It isn't the Bates Motel, but the Pinewood Motel has enough creepy visitors and creaky floors to make Vacancy worth checking into for 90 minutes.
  13. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    At its worst, Vacancy is merely the kind of taut B-chiller they don't make any more, other than to riff on them in "Grindhouse."
  14. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Vacancy could have been some sort of satirical masterpiece had this whole scenario been finally revealed as an extreme form of couple's therapy designed to get Beckinsale and Wilson back together.
  15. Reviewed by: Michael Ferraro
    It's rare to see Luke Wilson in such a serious role. He does an admirable job of ignoring his mostly comedic background but the real scene-stealer is Frank Whaley.
  16. Reviewed by: Nick de Semlyen
    This stripped-down chiller has some decent jump-frights, but a dearth of memorable moments.
  17. While the sadism doesn't stoop -- rise? -- to the level of the "Saw" horror-thrillers, Vacancy does have a name cast.
  18. Vacancy, in the end, simply offers a particularly aggressive brand of couples counseling.
  19. 50
    Wilson and Beckinsale, as the couple on the rocks, do their damnedest to go along for the creepfest, but nothing in Vacancy manages to come anywhere close to the quiet and steadily mounting dread of the real thing, much less the purview of Norman Bates or his beloved mother.
  20. It is a fairly routine exercise in New Millennium movie mayhem.
  21. If "Psycho" and "Peeping Tom" are the seminal killer-as-voyeur movies, Vacancy is the nasty little runt offspring with no other purpose in life but to gnaw on you.
  22. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    At the risk of spoiling anything, Vacancy, is one strange movie. It ends so precipitously, one can only assume it's a setup for the sequel (which, given all that happens, seems a mite unlikely).
  23. This ghastly swatch of pulp horror is compelling at the most basic level, but so little is going on in it that you might as well be watching a sadistic lab experiment performed on mice.
  24. For horror fans who appreciate a bit of craft with their second-rate experiences -- Paul Haslinger's fear-mongering score is terrific for what it's worth -- this might merit a future late-night rental.
  25. This banal horror retread involves a couple of critters flailing inside a sticky trap for what is, in effect, the big-screen equivalent of a roach motel.
  26. 80 minutes of formulaic unpleasantness isn't even close to my idea of a good time, and I doubt that Hitchcock himself could have done very much with Mark L. Smith's script.
  27. This is a no-cable, no-wake-up-call, cash-only dump of a film, where you breathe through a hankie and bring your own Lysol.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 124 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 30
  2. Negative: 5 out of 30
  1. Jul 16, 2014
    Vacancy is an intense thriller with stylish scares and visuals. Vacancy will surprise you and captivate
    you with its refreshing style and
    plot. One of the best thrillers in years. Full Review »
  2. Dec 26, 2011
    To put it plain and simple, This is horror. Vacancy not only keeps you on the edge of your seat but it also manages to suck you in and keep you interested every step of the way. I loved it. Full Review »
  3. Nov 1, 2013
    Hungarian director Nimród Antal’s debut was screened at the Prix Un Certain Regard of the Cannes Film Festival 2003 and with the suspense horror Vacancy, he establishes himself as a hope for future European independent cinema. This rather short Hitchock homage does have an A-list cast, including Kate Beckinsale, Luke Wilson, and Frank Whaley, but as we’ve seen well enough in the last couple of years, that alone doesn’t make for a good horror movie. Vacancy proves otherwise though, and impresses with never-ending thrill, creditable and genuine acting, and a completely rational story.
    After the nicely designed title sequence, the movie commences without any digressions, but it will take some time to completely grasp the situation. The screenplay deftly includes the needed information into the everyday dialogues of the two protagonists and knows just how much exposition is enough. Through that, the actual horror can quickly kick in and after not even 20 minutes, you’ll already have goosebumps and hands tied to the chair. The macabre game can begin and a difficult to watch assemblage of snuff films is followed by a nocturnal chase through an isolated motel, which doesn’t always omit clichés but conceals them through the director’s original and unpredictable ideas. However, the greatest asset stays the almost unendurable suspense, which makes for such an uncomfortable viewing that on one side, you’ll want to quit the movie and on the other, keeps you hooked in front of the TV.
    The movie completely lays down all horror stereotypes in its final act by staging it in sunlight, and it may for a moment seem that it degenerates into the bizarre. Fortunately, that’s not the case, and Antal stirs up a mysterious open end that is without equal. As the credits start in the style of the title sequence, you’ll not only be relieved to stop shivering, but also exhilarated to have ultimately seen a really great horror movie.
    Full Review »