Friday, April 10, 2015

P2 - Movie Review

P2 (2007)
Directed by Franck Khalfoun
-Spoilers ahead-

Our film begins with a sweeping view of Level P2 of a parking garage, as "Santa Baby" creepily drones on in the background, and we see a handcuffed woman bust out of the trunk of a car screaming.  Wait, what?!

As we rewind back to earlier in the evening, we see aforementioned handcuffed woman is Angela, a Type A overworked businesswoman working late on Christmas eve.  A man named Jim comes into her office and apologizes for getting drunk and making a move on her.  This seemed odd and out of place at the beginning of the film but I'm only mentioning it because it factors in later in the movie in my favorite scene.

Angela finally gets ready to leave to see her family but finds her car won't start.  She goes into the security office where we meet Thomas (Wes Bentley of American Beauty fame), the bumbling, awkward, yet slightly condescending security guard who tries to jump her battery and then invites her to have a Christmas meal with him.  Angela is noticeably off-put by Thomas and goes upstairs to call a cab and take a nap.  Once her cab arrives, Angela finds she is locked in the building and cannot get out.  As she struggles to unlock the door, she watches her cab drive away when all of a sudden all the lights in the building go out.  Angela begins to walk around in the dark and gets chloroformed by Thomas.

Here's where it all starts to get weird.  Angela wakes up ankle-chained to a table in the security office, wearing a white dress, and sitting at a table with a Christmas meal on it as Thomas begins to grill her on questions about her personal life while wearing a Santa costume.  (Lol what?!)  Santa then decides to give her a gift of a VHS tape of the security footage of Jim drunkenly groping her in the company elevator.  Thomas unlocks Angela so they can take a romantic walk together and she stabs him in the shoulder with a fork as his Rottweiler guard dog barks maniacally in the background.  Angela doesn't get far though before being tackled and shoved into a car by Thomas and thus we get to my favorite part of the movie because I'm a sick freak.

We see Jim tied up in a chair in the parking garage as Thomas instructs Angela to go beat him with a flashlight to prove that she's not a slut (Lol what?!) Thomas keeps repeating that he's here to help Angela, not hurt her, further cementing that he's a full-blown creepy stalker psycho.  He gets out of the car and beats Jim's face in with the flashlight.  But oh no, he's not done yet, he gets back in the car and pushes Jim's rolly chair through the parking garage with his bumper and then smashes him into the concrete wall.  We see Jim's intestines pouring out as Thomas backs the car up and hits him again, smashing his head to smithereens.

Angela is rightfully freaked the F out and she manages to escape the car and the rest of the movie is essentially a cat and mouse chase scene through the many different levels of the parking garage.  We see Angela trap herself in an elevator, which Thomas then floods from above with the emergency fire hose, almost drowning Angela.  We see Thomas dance to Blue Christmas and shake his hips like Elvis in the security office for no apparent reason.  We see Angela manage to frantically call 911 and as the cops arrive, Thomas tazes her and hides her body in her car trunk before putting on a show of innocence for the cops.

Our movie culminates with Angela trying to chase the cops as they drive away and then getting herself chased by Rocky the Rottweiler.  Angela turns into a super badass and kills Rocky with a tire iron.  This scene is pretty nasty and I hate when animals die in movies but it was Angela or Rocky, so Rocky had to go.  This of course pisses Thomas off to the ultimate level and they end up having a game of chicken with two cars on level P2 of the parking garage.  Thomas swerves at the last minute and Angela ends up flipping her car by taking the curves too fast.  Thomas approaches her car thinking she's dead, but nope, she stabs him in the eye with what looks like a nail file and then chokes him with her handcuffs.  In one final outburst of psychoticness, Thomas screams after Angela, "Why can't we be friends?  Why can't we just spend Christmas together?" and then lets out a stream of expletives which should never be used against women including the B word and the C word.  Okay Thomas, you gots to go.  Angela tazes a trail of gasoline leading up to the car and sets Thomas on fire.  You go, girl.

So as you can probably tell by the description, I wouldn't classify this film so much as a creepy scary horror film but more of an unsettling tension-filled thriller, which I always enjoy.  I might be in the minority for this, but I love movies that take place in only one setting with very few characters, as P2 did.  Exam and Pontypool are other great movies with minimal characters and setting changes.  I feel these "one-setting" movies are a true test of acting skills to see how well the main characters can carry a story and keep the viewer interested without tons of set changes, special effects, and secondary characters.  Rachel Nichols and Wes Bentley do a great job in P2.  She is convincing as a strong badass woman who doesn't give up and he is convincing as a super psycho who didn't get enough attention growing up.

The character of Angela was a compelling one, as she didn't necessarily have any violent tendencies or superhuman strength.  She was just a regular businesswoman caught in a terrifying situation and did the best she could to escape with what she was given to work with.  She fought Thomas to the end, ran her heart out in a skimpy white dress, and wasn't afraid to get covered in dog blood.  P2 didn't have a plethora of special effects or a supernatural element.  There was no mystery or twist ending.  There were no real jump scares.  BUT what it did have was a great build of tension in essentially an hour long chase scene and it had blood and gore.  And it had a guy's head explode.  Two thumbs up!


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