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  Publicity Stills of "P2"
(Courtesy of Shaw)

Director: Franck Khalfoun
Cast: Rachel Nichols, Wes Bentley, Simon Reynolds, Grace Lynn Kung, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee
RunTime: 1 hr 38 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: NC-16 (Violence)

Official Website: http://www.p2themovie.com/

Opening Day: 24 July 2008


It's Christmas Eve. Angela Bridges, an ambitious young executive, works late before she leaves for her family's holiday party. When she gets down to the parking garage, she discovers that her car won't start. The garage is deserted and her cell phone doesn't get a signal underground. When Thomas, a friendly security guard, comes along and offers to help, Angela nervously accepts his gesture of good will. Soon after a failed attempt to start her car, he invites her to stay and share a small Christmas dinner he's preparing in the parking office, but she laughs it off. Angela doesn't realize this is no laughing matter – Thomas has been watching her closely...for months. His dinner invitation is not optional. If Angela wants to live to see Christmas morning, she must find a way to escape from level P2 of the parking garage.

Movie Review:

P2 makes architects, real estate, facilities and safety people look stupid. Why? It's because the design of the building is implausible to allow for such an occurence to happen. Really, and if you think you might be locked in, have no safety devices for manual overriding of automated systems, and every barrier to exit designed as posed in the movie, then you really need to evaluate and highlight these deficiencies to the right department. Also, if Flightplan made flight attendants look bad, then P2 portrayed security officers as lecherous voyeurs with sick minds fantasizing about that hot executive in the business suit.

It took almost one year for this film to mark its theatrical release here, and even the DVD is already out in the shops. You might want to give this movie a chance and watch it on the big screen, but do take note that it's an edited version with jarring cuts, even though it's rated NC-16 for violence. You have been warned.

P2 refers to the particular basement parking level of a building, where much of the action takes place. Well, the characters got no choice given the building lock down on the upper floors, and this could be a strange supernatural movie as well because parked cars seemed to grow by the numbers at will, or either there are a lot of cars broken down, or the owners decided to take public transport home for the holidays, and leave their cars behind. It is precisely this kind of sloppy story telling that make P2 an unintentional comedy, which kind of surprised me because Alexandre Aja of Haute Tension and The Hills Have Eyes fame, had creative input into the story.

Rachel Nichols plays Angela, a typical beautiful blonde executive type who found herself stuck in her office building because her car would not start. Eager to get home for the holiday celebrations, she got some unsolicited help from the car part attendant/security officer Thomas (Wes Bentley), who as it turned out, harboured a secret destructive crush on her. Thus begin a kidnapping cat-and-mouse game between the two, with the hunter wanting to just make friends and unleash his vengeance upon those he's jealous of, and the prey trying her best to get herself out of the handcuffs that Thomas had locked her hands with, all the while dressed in an outfit with a cut so low that everything threatened to spill out.

While Nichols could be credited with expressing a range of emotions from disdain to indifference to fear to desperation to sudden laughable bravado, Bentley portrayed his Thomas with a lot more psychotic conviction, though sometimes going overboard with his looking mean and shouting-proves-you're-crazy routine when he hears his name get repeated too many times. Given the movie hinges primarily on these two characters, their repeated escape and capture routine become quite stale after some time, and the lack of set action pieces to elicit some results of tension caused the abhorring degeneration of such moments into ones containing the usual quick cuts and sudden in-your-face instances to get some cheap scares.

And if you survived reading this review until this point, you deserve to be awarded with a tip for the real world. So what do you do if you have a rogue officer stalking you, and if your mobile phone is flat / damaged / is not within your telco's lousy coverage? If your building is designed right, there are always multiple building fire alarm points on every floor. These alarm points have a breakable piece of glass in a box. Smash that glass, and the building fire alarm goes off, which links it to a remote monitoring station connected to the fire department. The guard will have to perform a follow up response, because if he doesn't, fire engines will come to your rescue. And even if he does call them off, hit another point, and another, and another. Surely, you'll get the attention of somebody, as it is clearly a situation which is not normal.

But of course, don't get yourself caught in that kind of situation in the first place. And if everyone's attitude is of the laid-back sort especially during public holidays, then I'd say good luck to you, and you'd better start reaching for that fire axe.

Movie Rating:

(for each distracting half-ball)

(Elvis would turn in his grave in having his songs associated with laughable P2)

Review by Stefan Shih


. Prom Night (2008)

. The Strangers (2008)

. Funny Games (2008)

. Untraceable (2008)

. Halloween (2007)

. The Flock (2007)

. Disturbia (2007)

. Saw IV (2007)

. Vacancy (2007)

. The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

. High Tension (2005)

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