P2

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In the grand tradition of unusual Christmas movies (Die Hard, Gremlins, Lethal Weapon), P2 uses the festive season as a loose background setting, but isn’t particularly important to the plot. Once again bringing together the writing, directing, producing trio of Franck Khalfoun, Alexandre Aja, and Gregory Lavasseur, P2 is a sleeper thriller – one which I went in to with low expectations, but came out pleased. It’s a fairly typical cat and mouse thriller, but one with good performances, layered characters, and an interesting setting which enhances the feeling of claustrophobia.

It’s A Wonderful Knife

The film centres on New York businesswoman Angela who is working late on Christmas Eve and gets trapped in the parking garage after everyone else has gone home. Initially she gets help from the security guard Thomas, but when she readies herself to leave, she is drugged, tied away, and it looks like we’re in for another 90 minutes of torture porn. What we get instead is a tale of obsession and survival which, although we have seen plenty of similar tales in the past, succeeds mainly due to the strong performances and strict direction. The film never goes too overboard with deus ex machina stuff, nor is anything too unrealistic – we have a lonely psychopath taking advantage of a woman he underestimates, and a struggle to get out alive. We don’t get an awful lot of background into the characters, but anything more than what we do get may be unnecessary. We have base motives, and the fact that we don’t learn much more doesn’t make matters less tense – the last thing you think about when someone is trying to kill you is ‘why are they trying to kill me’. The setting is interesting as it appears that there must surely be a number of places to hide, or a number of ways to escape, but each of these exit routes is somehow blocked, hidden, or too dangerous to contemplate.

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The two leads (Rachel Nichols and Wes Bentley) carry the film well, with only a small number of side-characters popping in for minor scenes. Both run through a range of emotions, and both go through a series of grueling scenes – they are each convincing in their roles and although we can reasonably expect a traditional happy ending in these types of films, it’s never clear who is going to come out on top. There is some violence in the movie, but nowhere near the trio’s other films such as High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes, and everything seems far from far-fetched. It isn’t going to change anyone’s life or appear on many fan favourite lists, but it’s a good film to catch for some late night chills.

Have you seen this little known slasher? Let us know in the comments what you think of this one, and in what sort of unique scenario or place would you like to see a horror movie set?

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