Once inside their room, in search of something to take their minds off their seedy surroundings, the couple pops in an old VHS tape left atop the motel-room TV set. What they discover is a “snuff” film – footage of previous occupants in the same room, as they meet their doom at the hands of brutal killers.

Desperation sets in quickly. David confirms that video cameras are hiding behind the air vents, and menacing figures begin to move in on the couple. Their fates are sealed. Or are they?

The answer is irrelevant, but the film is not, for it offers a chance for a public shaming. Everyone involved in making and promoting this sinister, sick piece of work should feel something more than embarrassment. They should feel deeply, deeply ashamed of themselves.

I am not arguing for moral condemnation of all Hollywood product, nor of all “R”-rated films. I am not arguing that horror films are off-limits for Christians, or that acts of sadism should never, ever be depicted on film (I’m not sure they should be, but that’s not the thrust of my argument). Rather, I am pointing out that a movie about videotaped killings, sold as entertainment, is a revolting idea.

That the release of Vacancy should occur within days of a videotaped confession from a mass murderer presents an unlikely invitation to remind others that some films are simply shameful. And they don’t deserve our attention.

AUDIENCE:  Not appropriate for anyone.


  • Language/Profanity:  Lord’s name taken in vain; multiple profanities
  • Drugs/Alchohol:  Amy takes prescription anti-depressants that make her sleepy
  • Sex/Nudity:  No sex, but the snuff videos show nude women being stabbed and killed
  • Violence:  Where to begin? Multiple people are stabbed, tortured and murdered; a woman is choked; a car impales a man; a man’s mouth spurts blood
  • Marriage:  A strangely “pro-marriage” message lies underneath the piles and piles of sadistic garbage here, as the husband and wife rediscover their love – sort of – while trying to outwit their attackers; the couple’s son has died, and they blame each other before apologizing for their actions.