Reviewed on 2008 April 29
Here’s the reason I won’t stay at any little out-of-the way indie motels unless a friend recommends them to me.
David and Amy Fox (Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale) are a squabbling couple trying to preserve their marriage after a terrible loss. They’re driving (and bickering) when their car decides to break down in the middle of nowhere (they never die next to a Midas, do they?). The local mechanic looks at the car and says he doesn’t know exactly what the problem is, but it’ll be a while, and they might as well make themselves comfortable while they wait.
With nothing better to do at their end of the earth, they decide to check into a local dump, a motel that makes a Motel 6 look like a posh resort. Amy wants to boil her clothes when they get out of there; David decides to make the best of it and starts looking through some videos he finds in the room. He thinks he scored a nice stash of porn and he pops the first one in, but instead of cheesy music he hears screaming. He realizes they’re looking at a snuff film, and it was made in their room.
And that’s when the lights in their room go out.
The formula is pretty basic here but the atmosphere is good, and this is creepy, even when it isn’t scary. It’s interesting to see a couple of cliches set up, then stomped on. Luke Wilson was good in a dramatic role, Kate could play terrified without being weak, and they could both fight with each other and still be likable to the audience. And we really didn’t know what made Mason (Frank Whaley) tick but his character was one disgusting piece of work.
Two chocolate morsels.