SRP $38.95 2.40:1 PCM 5.1 SONY
SRP $28.95 2.40:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 SONY

From the theatrical trailer, "VACANCY" looks like a really mediocre "B" movie, that's no different from the worst of exploitation films trying to profit from the success of victims in peril, ala "SAW." However, the the opening credits to the film pay homage to "HITCHCOCK" in their design, and the film plays even more like a "Hitchcock" film than a horror film. Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale play a couple about to divorce, having grown bitter towards one another after the death of their son. After car trouble, the two stay at an out-of-the-way motel and find on videotapes left in the room, that past guests have been murdered in their room as part of snuff films. They also find the room rigged with cameras, and realize if they don't escape they'll be the next victims.  What sounds like the premise for a tortuous experience for the viewer becomes a nail-biting, well-executed, and at times "smart" thriller. The "smart" aspect dumbs down very quickly, but what's left is still better than the majority of thrillers out there recently.

SONY has released the film on blu-ray and dvd with the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio.  The blu-ray offers 1080p/AVC MPEG-4.   Intentionally a dark film, the dvd and blu-ray offer fine image quality. However, the dvd appears notably darker, and without the exceptional detail found on blu-ray.  Colors are bold in both formats, but more vibrant on the blu-ray.  In scene-to-scene comparisons, the blu-ray offers much deeper blacks and grays, allowing for incredible depth in the darkest scenes.  The blu-ray never has a flat-looking scene and ranks up there with the best high-def releases in video quality thus far. The dvd, while fine, displays the great differences between the two formats in their rendering of depth.

SONY has provided a PCM 5.1  mix for the blu-ray and Dolby Digital 5.1 for dvd.  For a thriller, "VACANCY" is surprisingly heavy on dialogue, perfectly rendered in both formats. Surrounds are generally restrained, achieving great impact when utilized for sudden, surprise moments. Separation is great on both formats, however, the blu-ray offers deeper bass and better dynamic range. Dialogue is always intelligible and well balanced.

The blu-ray and dvd offer the same extras, however all but one deleted scene are presented in 1080i on blu-ray. A featurette, with plenty of behind-the-scenes footage, interviews,etc., is here. An alternate ending is definitely worth checking out.