Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

This is somewhat of an accomplishment, even if the movie itself, ‘Vacancy 2: The First Cut’, doesn’t accomplish a heckuva lot in its running time. But after years of watching horror movies and watching obnoxious African American characters in horror movies I do believe that actor Arjay Smith just might’ve grabbed the mantle as the most obnoxious African American character in horror movie history. Kudos brother!

This movie here is a prequel of sorts to a movie I did find mighty entertaining in ‘Vacancy’ and opens with a horny couple looking for a place to get it on. One of these horny folks is played by the criminally underused actress Gwendolyn Yeo. Somebody hurry up and make this woman a star. So this couple finds this place run by the sleazy manager Gordon (David Moscow) and directs them to a room that he has loaded with cameras to tape this couples activities. Apparently Gordon and his mate Reece (Brian Klugman) have a little clandestine porno thing going on, though I gotta be honest with you in that I wouldn’t pay one red nickel to see these two fully clothed people roll around in a dirty bed. Next to enter the hotel room with the plethora of cameras would be the mysterious Mr. Smith (Scott G. Anderson). The proprietors funnel him and his lovely lady of the night to this room and observe as Mr. Smith completely murderizes this woman for all the cameras to see. Now what to do? Well since their lame porno business of watching fully clothed people roll around in dirty beds is apparently floundering, and we can see why, why not start moving videos or real life murderizations? And a very shaky alliance is formed.

So now we get to meet Jessica (Agnes Bruckner) who we are told is in a womanly way, her fiancé Caleb (Trevor Wright) and Caleb’s lifelong best friend Tanner played by the afore mentioned Arjay Smith. This trio is driving down a dark dusty road to have a meet and greet with Jessica’s folks and decide to rest up before heading back out in the morning. Why is best friend Tanner hanging out in the back seat? This isn’t made too entirely clear but I think he is here mainly to annoy, and he does it phenomenally well. His nuttiness consists of constantly insulting Jessica for no good

reason, he often urges his best friend not to marry the pregnant girl, he blames the pregnant woman for ruining he and his friend’s lives, he curses inappropriately at inappropriate times and is breaking into hotel rooms among many other transgressions. I do think they said he is from Chicago so a lot of this behavior is somewhat understandable.

So they check in when Tanner observes on the TV of the room that he broke into that he is watching Jess and Caleb about to get it on. Not cool. Now they know something is up and now they must flee. Alas fleeing is not really an option for our murderous peeping toms as these crazy kids are marked for death because like a roach motel, they can check in but they can’t checkout. How about that for clever?

‘Vacancy 2: The First Cut’ is completely mediocre as a movie, neither good nor bad enough to make anybody sit up and take notice in any kind of relevant way… that is were it not for the performance of Arjay Smith. My man is consistently obnoxious throughout this entire movie and his performance should probably serve as a primer in acting schools across the land on how to properly be an obnoxious character in a horror movie. Like any decent obnoxious character in a horror flick, he or she should really serve no true purpose outside of being obnoxious and the minute Tanner popped out of the backseat of the car of our young lovers, with no valid explanation why he’s going along on a trip with his best friend so his best friend can meet his girlfriend’s parents, the obnoxious game is on. Suddenly at the motel room there’s loud banging at the door… is it the bad guys? Is it the cops? Hell no, it’s the obnoxious friend! Amorous couple trying to get busy, who interrupts them in the middle but the obnoxious friend? Best friend since birth is being murdered? Who yells the loudest and with the most fear in their eyes that it is time to jet in terror whilst best friend is getting stabbed to death? The obnoxious best friend of course. Surviving obnoxious friend and girlfriend stumble upon the house of a kindly elderly couple. Girlfriend tries to be polite and ask for assistance. Obnoxious best friend drops numerous F-bombs on these kindly old people, calling them every kind of bitch in the book until finally the obnoxious best friend is caught and slaughtered. Outstanding! I mean the brother was on his obnoxious A-Game in this movie.

The movie itself is paint by numbers, has none of the tension, style or panache of the original film and for the most part has very little to offer to the genre except to take up space on a DVD shelf. But if you are looking to get into acting one day and need a case study on how an obnoxious friend is supposed to played, your search begins and ends with Arjay Smith in ‘Vacancy 2: The First Cut’. Class dismissed.

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