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REVIEW: P2 movie review

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REVIEW: P2 movie review

By Karen Benardello

One Heart

Being trapped inside a dark, deserted parking garage on Christmas Eve, with the psychopathic security guard holding you hostage. It’s one of women’s worst nightmares, therefore having the potential to be the plot for the next great horror movie. But presently, it’s harder to tell what’s more frightening: actually being in this situation, or sitting through the 97 minutes of the new horror/thriller movie “P2,” which has this very plot. The movie, which bills Wes Bentley and Rachel Nichols as its only actors, reunited director-writer Franck Khalfoun with screenwriters Gregory Levasseun and Alexandre Aja (they worked together on the 2006 remake of “The Hills Have Eyes”). But even this dream-team crew couldn’t make “P2” a box-office success.

This movie, which filmed for only two months last fall, seemed destined to fail at the box office even before it was released on November 9. Khalfoun barely advertised it on TV and the radio; the main form of advertising was the trailer being streamed on MySpace. It’s likely the movie’s distributor, Summit Entertainment, did not have enough money to advertise it, as the budget was only $8 million dollars.

Not only did Summit save money by barely advertising “P2,” it also saved by filming in Toronto, where movie production is cheaper than in New York, where the movie’s supposed to take place. Also, it is likely Khalfoun hired Bentley and Nichols, who are lesser-known actors, so he wouldn’t have to pay them as much as their A-list counterparts.

Besides wondering why Summit didn’t pour much money into the movie, it’s easy to question Khalfoun’s motives. Why did he go along with barely advertising the movie? Was he trying to add to the mystery of the “parking-garage horror,” or did he know that the movie wouldn’t be a hit? Also, why did he release a movie that took place on Christmas Eve two weeks before Thanksgiving, a time when many people haven’t begun thinking of Christmas yet?

The movie follows Angela Bridges (played by Nichols), an ambitious young executive who works late on Christmas Eve. She works so late that she’s the last person to leave her office, and is extremely behind schedule in getting to her family’s celebration. When she gets to P2, the level in the parking garage where she parked, her car won’t start, and her cell phone doesn’t work. She asks Thomas (played by Bentley), the lone security guard on duty, to help her, and he tries to fix her car. After several unsuccessful attempts, he invites her to stay and have dinner with him, but she laughs it off.

Thomas unlocks the elevator room for her, and she rides to the ground level, where she’s able to call a taxi. However, she’s locked inside the building, so she goes back down to the garage. Thomas then takes her hostage, and tells her if she wants to see Christmas morning, she must eat and stay with him.

“P2,” which was rated R for strong violence/gore, terror, and language, doesn’t compare to
“The Hills Have Eyes” or Aja’s 2003 directorial effort, “High Tension.” The audience can relate to the characters in the latter two movies, as the victims were working-class citizens who were struggling to survive while fighting their attackers. However, Angela wasn’t given an in-depth back-story, so the audience members are likely to view her as a privileged executive who always gets what she wants. Since “P2” focused on the violence and gore instead of Angela’s physiological state-of-mind, the audience is unlikely to form an emotional bond with her.

Horror fans who enjoyed “The Hills Have Eyes” and/or “High Tension” may be tempted to see “P2,” as they may think it has the same plotline and emotions as the former two. However, the people who will likely enjoy it the most are Bentley’s fans, as he gives the same bad-boy performance as his break-out role in 2000’s Academy Award-winning best movie, “American Beauty.”

P2 Movie Poster and Review

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6 Comments

6 Comments

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  6. Bo Lane

    May 24, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    I drove on up to Blockbuster, spent way too much money and way too much time rummaging through the already low supply of useless films; films that wait everso patiently for idiots, like myself, to spend their hard-earned dollars on.

    Needless to say – I get home – I watch the movie – then I force myself to stay up way past my bedtime and write this pointless review about a movie that no one should never, ever waste their time seeing. Never. Ever.

    Did I mention never? Just checking.

    Enough of the easy commentary – allow me to Jackie-Chan this film that supposedly brings in “a new level a fear” – more like a new level a tears; tears from the pain by which I caused myself by running to my desk and jamming a pencil in my eye so I wouldn’t have to subject myself any longer to the annoying, B-rated, poor character development, stupid, non-horroristic crap-ooshki that calls itself a film.

    The Plot Summary: The concept for P2 is incredibly light. Rachel Nichols plays Angela, an overworked businesswoman who gets trapped in an underground parking garage on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately for Angela, the parking attendant on duty, Thomas (Wes Bentley), is quite psychotic and rather obsessed with her. In short order Thomas kidnaps Angela, leaving the remainder of the movie’s running time for Angela’s desperate attempts to escape. (Summary courtesy of http://www.holly-woods.blogspot.com)

    Yup. That’s about it. Little Angie spends 75% of the movie running around in circles, trying to escape the “psychotic” and “obsessed” Tommy the Terrible Attendant. Fortunately for Angie, Tommy the Terrible is a bad actor with an equally un-scary demeanor.

    Any potential the movie had was enormously ruined when Thomas decided to use his car to ram Jim (who once attempted to get physical with Angela after having too much to drink at an office Christmas party) into a wall of the garage. Like I said, this could’ve had some potentially good visual effects – instead we get to see Jim’s head explode and the grape juice – I mean, blood – splatter all over the windshield. Instead of being paralyzed by the fear which would normally be associated with seeing a man’s head explode, like an odd-shaped watermelon being popped like a teenage pimple in front of your eyes, Angie manages to escape. Hmm.

    Lots of running. Lots of bad acting. And lots of wasted anticipation.

    Needless to say, the only thing this movie has going for it, in my opinion, is that it now moves from the “New Release” section to the lonesome “Isle of the Castaways” – allowing all people, who were fortunate enough not to waste their precious time, to walk right past it on their way to the checkout counter.

    Sorry P2. You get two thumbs down. And if I had four thumbs – yeah you guessed it.

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