Reviewed By The Ultimate Dancing Machine
Posted 04/20/08 15:07:19

2 stars (Pretty Bad)

Rachel Nichols gets trapped overnight in an underground parking garage with one of the least frightening psychos in movie history. To be fair, there’s more to this film than that. Actually, no, there isn’t.

Not exactly making a strong case for the merits of minimalist thrillers, P2 is largely a two-character piece in which a female office worker (Nichols) is chased around the aforementioned garage by a stalker-ish security guard (Wes Bentley) whose unrequited lust for her has finally taken a dangerous turn. Simple, but it could have worked: lone female locked in combat with an unstoppable killing machine. Too bad Bentley’s character comes across less Michael Myers than Mark David Chapman: a nerdy misfit who just wants to find love and be “understood.” And so we get some rather odd scenes, some of which I can’t even be sure are intended for laughs, in which, for instance, Bentley rocks out to Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” and yells at Nichols for calling him “Tom” all the time. There are scenes here that seem to have been imported from some ineptly “quirky” off-Broadway play. Half the time you don’t even get the sense that Nichols is in any immediate danger from this guy. A wilier heroine might have simply exploited his neuroses and played head games with this loser until help comes in the morning.

Films like this tend to benefit from clever plotting and reversals, but there’s none of that here, leaving us with a film far too straightforward and two-dimensional to elevate it above the generic. (Why it took three screenwriters to concoct this fairly simple scenario is the most compelling mystery of P2.) Nor does director Khalfoun provide much in the way of suspense; the hunt-and-stalk sequences are just kinda blah, partly because it’s hard to generate thrills with a maniac who just wants to hear “I love you.”

Not nearly funny or scary enough, P2 isn’t altogether inept, but it’s so forgettable that it practically self-destructs in your mind as you watch it.

© Copyright HBS Entertainment, Inc.