Metrodome Tartan’s big UK release for 2008 is the simply, but unusually titled P2. Prepare to see the media vehicle that is P2 with 500 TV spots purchased, trailers in most major cinema releases during the first three months of 2008, and a whole horde of newspaper and internet ads. The key thing here of course is will P2 add up to the intense frenzy of hype about to befall it?
Committed office worker Angela (Rachel Nichols) is working late on Christmas Eve trying to finish up all her work before the holiday period. But work tensions and a frequent intrusion of friends and family calling make her work load prolonged; so when she finally gets to leave the office she is pretty much the only person left. Upon arrival at her car parking space on Parking Level 2 (P2) she finds her car incapable of working, despite the actions of the courteous car parking attendant Thomas (Wes Bentley). But when Angela calls a cab she finds herself imprisoned on P2, and Thomas nowhere to be seen. As the cab arrives and leaves it becomes apparent that she could well be trapped on P2 for the entire Christmas, but things are about to take a turn for the worse as she finds herself the victim of a secret admirer, a secret admirer with a taste for murder.
P2’s opening forty five minutes transpires to be somewhat of a hollow gift, the turn of things from bad to worse happens quite quickly in the movie, which normally would be a good start. Unfortunately the offering during this period is substandard, Thomas reveals himself to be the nutter of the movie quite quickly and this nasty little cat and mouse conversational piece begins with him questioning Angela telling her she is a liar at every turning. I had very quickly given up all hope for this movie, finding it boring and nothing new; until the story took an alarming and far more sinister twist, suddenly I found myself captivated by the onscreen horror happening before my eyes.
Once the movie gets going (about the 46th minute) it’s more of a rollercoaster ride than I had first given it credit, and the shocks from there on come quick and fast, delivered with the upmost brutality. The death of a colleague and it’s a grotesque and stomach churning one at that, while remaining disturbingly realistic is quickly followed by the realisation that Angela has been raped while unconscious. And both these points are really hammered home to the viewer.
The movie is pretty much a two handed piece, with a couple of other characters thrown in near the start to allow for a little bloodletting later on in the piece. Personally however I found no real need to bond with either character, making the journey more arduous than it needs to be. Why I have no qualms that either lead are capable actors, the development of the initial opening for the movie fails to allow you to like either, I feel a lot more character development at the start may have made the piece far more complete. Wes Bentley’s performance as deranged and incredibly deluded psychopath starts on a weak note, but as his intensity grows as the story progresses he does on some levels become quite a menacing individual, and certainly not the sort of person you would want to spend Christmas Eve with.
P2 is alternatively pleasing to some degree, it’s so often that a movie starts with promise and ends up like a damp squib; to see the complete reverse is quite nice, of course better still would be if the movie had been perfect for its entirety. Regardless of its strengths and weaknesses P2 is highly predictable for the most part; you do not need to be Nostradamus to predict this movies outcome. What is good with P2 is that it’s a very real horror, this is no Freddy/Jason battle where the victim and the evil guy have everlasting life and superhuman strengths’; these are normal people and wounds developed during the first few minutes are endured for the remainder of the film, deaths are final and justice when needed is swift.
Expect P2 to cause a lack of faith in parking garages across the world, but don’t expect this to be the smash hit that Summit Entertainment and Metrodome Tartan (its UK distributers) expect it to be. If not for its graphic nature and stabbing delivery P2 seems very much like a made for TV movie or straight to video style release, that being said I would certainly watch this movie more than once if only to see one disturbing scene that I lacked the ability to put into words.
P2 opens in UK Cinemas on March 23rd 2008, and is due for a US DVD release early January.
Spencer Hawken 12/07