Directed by Nimród Antal
Luke Wilson as David Fox
Kate Beckinsale as Amy Fox
Frank Whaley as Mason
Ethan Embry as the Mechanic
Scott G. Anderson as the Killer
As if marriage wasn’t already hard enough, add in a deceased child and a high stress travel situation and BOOM! Everything explodes into terror and chaos.
A couple on the edge of divorce has car trouble on the way home from a party at family’s. They decide to stay the night at the motel next to the auto mechanic’s garage.
The manager puts them in a room where they soon discover video tapes of previous guests of the motel. These tapes are creepy and are actually the snuff films of the guests’ demise. What makes it even more disheartening and terrifying is that the murders happened in the room these two are staying in. David investigates the room and finds that it is set up with hidden cameras, allowing “whoever” to watch their every move.
They try to escape and are confronted outside by masked men from multiple directions. Fearing for their lives, they run back into the motel room, Amy dropping her cell phone in the process. (Not that there’s service at this place anyways.) One of the masked men ends up stepping on it in the pursuit anyway.
Eventually, they find the way that the bad guys are getting into the room, which is a tunnel accessed through the bathroom floor. They also figure out that there are many people involved in this little kidnap/killing venture. Weighing their options of possible escape or certain death, they use the tunnel to try to escape. They exit the tunnel to find themselves in the bad guy’s viewing room where they see all the monitors that show their room. Beyond this room is the front desk where they checked in and above the doorway between the two is a pair of revolvers.
But, someone comes into the office area and they have to go back into the tunnel to avoid getting caught.
Running out of options, David decides to hide Amy in the ceiling (they pull a ceiling tile aside to get up there) and he decides to try to get to the revolvers in the office himself. However, he is stabbed before he can even leave the room by one of the bad guys and he collapses on the floor. Amy sees the whole thing.
She waits until morning and comes down from her hiding spot. As she goes to look at her husband she is attacked by one of the killers and has to flee. She finds the killer’s car and while she is driving away, the killer jumps to attack her through the sun roof and she ends up crashing the car into the motel, killing the guy in the sun roof AND another bad guy who gets sandwiched between the car and a wall.
Amy exits the car and runs to the office to get the revolver. She is met by the motel manager (a bad guy, obviously) and they struggle. After he thinks he has control over Amy, the manager (Mason) tries to get her final moments on camera with his little handheld handycam but, Amy fights back and eventually gets the gun, shooting Mason three times killing him.
She takes the revolver and goes to check on her husband, who luckily, is still alive and they find that they have a newfound love for each other. (Intense, stressful situations can do that to people.)
So, apparently this was a good enough story idea for Criminal Minds to rip it off in 2008, season 4 episode 4 “Paradise” where a creepy motel manager traps couples in a motel room and comes in and out of the room via a vent in the bathroom and terrorizes them, then kills them.
There is a definite creep factor throughout this whole film. Frank Whaley and Ethan Embry are both excellent at being just a little off center and making you uncomfortable, just as they are intended to. Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale aren’t major favorites of mine but they did a good job.
This movie would definitely make you think twice about stopping at one of those little no-name roadside motels. Those quaint little out of the way places that you always think “oh how cute, let’s stay there”. Yeah. Next time, find something that’s in town, populated and popular, something well known.
All in all, not a bad film. Definitely something I could recommend to suspense/thriller lovers. And it’s something I could actually watch again.