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Overall Rating
1.57

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 4.76%
Average: 4.76%
Pretty Bad: 33.33%
Total Crap57.14%

3 reviews, 3 user ratings


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P2
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Insert Crashingly Obvious "PU" Crack Here"
1 stars

The new thriller “P2" clearly wants to do for parking garages what “Jaws” did for beaches 30-odd years ago–it wants to take an ordinary locale that people visit every day and present it in such a creepy manner that anyone who sits through the film will be so terrified at the thought of being inside one that they will forsake their cars forever for the vagaries of public transportation. As it turns out, “P2" turns out to be less like a classic like “Jaws” and more like the recent stinker “Captivity”–it is a brainless, soulless and unintentionally hilarious exercise in sadism that may admittedly be lacking in human organ smoothies but more than makes up for this absence with plenty of foul emissions of its own, both literal and metaphorical. Hell, even that classic “Seinfeld” episode where the gang wandered around a garage looking for their car while juggling air conditioners, dying goldfish and the call of natures generated more nerve-wracking tension than this bargain-basement craptacular.

Rachel Nichols, the babe-who-would-be-Jennifer-Garner on that awkward final season of “Alias,” stars as Angela Bridges, a young businesswoman who, as the film opens, is having perhaps the least merry Christmas Eve to ever befall anyone not named Cratchit–one of her superiors makes a drunken pass at her in the elevator during the holiday party, a last-minute change in a big deal forces her to stay later than expected and delay her arrival at her parents house for a holiday get-together and when she finally makes it to her car to leave, it won’t start. Amiable parking garage guard Thomas (Wes Bentley) tries to help her get it started to no avail and as an offer of good tidings, he invites her to share Christmas Eve dinner with him in his office. She politely turns him down, evidently forgetting that most important rule for surviving a holiday-themed horror movie–when a creepy guy who looks like Wes Bentley (hell, even Wes Bentley himself) unexpectedly invites you to dinner in the isolated office he shares with his ferocious dog, you say “Yes!” Before long, Angela discovers that Thomas is a psychopath with a bizarre fixation on her and that he has trapped her in the garage with him as part of a half-assed plan to get her to fall in love with him. Of course, his methods are a bit questionable–while Angela strikes me as the kind of girl who could easily shrug off the handcuffs and leg manacles, she is a little put off when Thomas messily disposes of the grabby superior before her eyes–and she struggles to escape both his clutches and the garage.

I was about to describe the ensuing pursuit that dominates the last half of “P2" as being like a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse. However, that wouldn’t quite be accurate as the film is more like a deadly-dull game of mouse-and-dumbass as the two characters play what is an extended game of hide-and-seek in scenes that are so poorly lit that it almost feels at times as if Clint Eastwood took over the direction at some point. Of course, having made the classic stalker drama “Play Misty For Me,” Eastwood would have known how to milk the situation for some genuine suspense, a concept that seems to be utterly alien to debuting director Franck Khalfoun–outside of one nicely done freak-out moment right at the top of the film, the rest of the proceedings are the kind of paint-by-numbers suspense filmmaking where even the most timid and easily frightened audience member can see the scares and “Boo!” moments coming a mile away. This isn’t entirely Khalfoun’s fault as a director because the screenplay that he co-wrote with Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur, the French-born idiots behind such loathsome gorefests as “High Tension” and the “Hills Have Eyes” remake, is one of the stupidest to come along in quite some time. I won’t go into great details about the sordid absurdities that they have cooked up, except to note that the grand finale manages to simultaneously invoke/rip off both “Hostel Part II” and “Ghost Rider” (another Wes Bentley joint from earlier this year) and even though no one in their right minds would suggest either of those films as classic works of cinema, even they feel like masterworks compared to this nonsense.

Even if you forgive the implausibilities (such as the fact that a lowly parking attendant can somehow seemingly control the functions of an entire building) and faulty plotting, you are still stuck with watching two of the dumbest characters in recent genre film history screaming and bleeding at and on each other for 90 minutes. Nichols plays a character so idiotic that she actually winds up doing more physical damage to herself to herself than her captor does (including one needlessly gruesome bit in which she somehow manages to tear out her entire fingernail for no apparent reason) and so bland that even when she runs around soaking wet in a slip (I won’t spill the details except to mention that Thomas, in addition to his other psychopathic tendencies, must have also seen “Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen” at some point), we still can’t figure out what it is that Thomas sees in her in the first place. However, her performance comes up smelling like the proverbial rose in comparison to the jaw-droppingly awful turn contributed by Wes Bentley. If we consider Cary Elwes’ performance in the last ten minutes of “Saw” as being the most ludicrously over-the-top bit of scenery mastication in the annals of contemporary horror film history, then Bentley’s performance, by comparison, is not only in the same ballpark, it is actually standing in the on-deck circle. Whether he is screaming, ranting or struggling to sound reasonable at the most unreasonable times, he is never frightening for a second and in fact, he only brings to the film the kind of bad laughs that even the best horror films would find impossible to recover from. It certainly doesn’t help that there are a couple of scenes that appear to have been included simply to remind us just how far his career has fallen in the years since he appeared in “American Beauty.”

In the hands of a gifted filmmakers–or at least someone who wasn’t a total clod–“P2" might have worked as a lean and efficient example of pure cinematic style along the lines of the famous opening sequence of the original “When A Stranger Calls.” Alas, that is not the case and the result is a film so cruddy and mind-numbing that you would be better off spending 96 minutes stuck in the parking garage of the movie theater instead of in the multiplex watching it–at the very least, the carbon monoxide fumes probably won’t kill as many brain cells.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=16784&reviewer=389
originally posted: 11/09/07 17:33:02
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User Comments

4/07/11 Saif A. Khan This film is not at all as bad as people make it out to be...Nothing to do? Watch this. 3 stars
6/30/08 art AN EXCELLENT THRILLER ONE THAT"S REALISTIC FOR A CHANGE 4 stars
11/22/07 mike i guess i'll give it a bonus star for the cleavage. the villain is the dumbest villain eve 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  09-Nov-2007 (R)
  DVD: 08-Apr-2008

UK
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