Thursday, December 11, 2014

#1,578. P2 (2007)

Directed By: Franck Khalfoun

Starring: Rachel Nichols, Wes Bentley, Simon Reynolds

Tag line: "A new level of fear"

Trivia: The film was shot in two months, exclusively at night, at a real Toronto parking garage

After staying late on Christmas Eve to tie up a few loose ends, workaholic businesswoman Angela (Rachel Nichols) heads to her car, only to discover that the parking garage has been locked down for the night. Already late for a family function, she asks Thomas (Wes Bentley), the garage’s security guard, for help. It isn’t long, however, before Angela learns the truth: Thomas is a psychotic who’s been watching her for months, and is now prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure she spends the Christmas Holiday with him (even if it means chaining her to a table). Frightened and confused, Angela looks for a way out of this predicament, leading to a night of terror she won’t soon forget.

Co-written by Alexandre Aja (the man behind the exceptional 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes), P2 may not be the most original horror / thriller out there (its story of a love-struck psychopath kidnapping the object of their affection has been done before, in films such as 1965’s The Collector and 1990’s Misery), but it does generate its fair share of thrills, thanks in large part to the fine performance delivered by Wes Bentley. Initially coming across as a kindly, confused young man (despite having chained her to the table, he is very polite to Angela, catering to her every need), we soon learn just how far Thomas is willing to take this infatuation of his when he lashes out against Jim (Simon Reynolds), a co-worker of Angela’s who, a few days earlier, made an aggressive pass towards her (the scene where Thomas confronts Jim is easily the film’s goriest). As P2 progresses, Thomas’ actions and reactions become more intense (spurred on by the fact that Angela clearly doesn’t return his affections), taking this game of cat-and-mouse to a whole new level.

P2 isn’t without its flaws; as creepy as an underground parking garage can be (especially an abandoned one), director Franck Khalfoun never explores the setting as completely as I would have liked, giving us no real sense of how large or small the structure truly is. But if you have a craving for a Christmas movie with bite, P2 will surely satisfy it.

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