Spoilers ahead for Vacancy and Isolation
Vacancy , directed by Nimrod Antal, written by Mark L Smith (Christ on a bike, I thought it was written by Mark E Smith for a moment!).
Oh dear. A supposed horror film spoilt by a total surfeit of imagination and a ton-and-a-half of dialogue landfill. Luke Wilson draws from the same acting well as his brother Owen, so it’s inevitable that after about thirty seconds, you want to throttle him. What the devil Kate Beckinsale is doing in this Christ only knows (then again, after having seen Underworld, I think I can guess). It’s unnecessarily wordy, and has a pointlessly long introductory sequence that consists entirely of boring chatter. It’s not even unintentionally funny, so I can’t think why anyone in their own right mind would want to watch it. That said, some of the snuff videos playing in the hotel room looked kinda fun - can I rent some of those, please? There's nothing like a good snuff movie...
Isolation, written and directed by Billy O’Brien.
Double oh dear (changing the subject for a moment, did you know that’s what James Bond’s mum calls him when he gets called home for his tea?). The tagline for this film – It Didn’t Want to be Born. Now, It Doesn’t Want to Die – is terrific. However a more accurate description would be: Alien – On a Farm – in Ireland – Zzzzz.
Nothing happens for an hour until the body of Orla the vet is found – as her death occurs off-screen, we have to rely on the explanation of mad scientist Crispin Letts to fill in the gaps (er, why not just show it? This is supposed to be a horror film, right?). The film then wakes up and goes all silly for ten minutes. Then the rubber hand puppet monster shows up. Sub-plots wave at you feebly and slink off in winsome fashion (who or what are Jamie and Mary running away from?). The ending is telegraphed about an hour before it arrives. Looks nice though.
As a joint production between Film Four, the Irish Film Board and Lionsgate, you would have thought someone somewhere could have sanctioned a few more script rewrites – as it stands currently, the whole thing feels like a second draft. Perhaps they should have given it to Mark E Smith – he’d have known what to have done with it.