Monday, October 11, 2010


After getting stuck working late on Christmas, a woman (Rachel Nichols) discovers that she has been locked in the building. Turns out this wasn't an accident: the creepy, unstable parking attendant (Wes Bentley) is obsessed with her and has plans to abduct her and do lord knows what else. Trapped with the nutcase in the very large parking garage, she has to outsmart and outfight him if she wants to escape.

I've been meaning to see P2 again ever since I caught it a few years ago. I enjoyed it at the time, but watched it with some friends and didn't feel I gave it my full attention. It seemed like exactly the kind of thriller I should love: well crafted, smart, plausibly implausible, with strong actors and a clever screenplay.

I was right, it is exactly that kind of thriller. One thing I really appreciated this time through was how efficiently the movie sets up the rules and mainly sticks to them, and then figures out clever ways for the heroine to break the rules and the bad guy to stop her from doing so. Establishing the rules is key to a movie like this. We not only have to understand the basic layout of the parking garage, but where the bad guy's office is, where his dog is currently located, where the heroine's cell phone does and doesn't work, and so on and so forth.

P2 was produced and co-written by Alexandre Aja, the French horror movie director who, after the seriously problematic but also very promising Haute Tension, and excellent remake of The Hills Have Eyes, seemed like the next big thing in horror. Unfortunately, he followed those up with a complete piece of shit (Mirrors) and a mildly amusing disappointment (Piranha 3D), so I don't really have high hopes for him any more. I was thinking, though, that even if Aja's career doesn't reach its full potential, maybe he's sufficiently groomed P2 director Franck Khalfoun, of whom we can expect bigger and better things. But I looked it up, and all he's done since is a terrible looking low budget Cuba Gooding Jr. action movie. So I'm not holding my breath on Khalfoun either.

Grade: B+

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