P2 preys on claustrophobic fears

By Gus Bode

“P2”

Rated: R

Starring Wes Bentley, Rachel Nichols

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Directed by Franck Khalfoun

Runtime: 98 min.

‘Tis the season for holiday themed movies – even if the holiday flick is a ho-hum thriller.

“P2” preys on somewhat claustrophobic fears, as Angela (Rachel Nichols) tries to leave work late on Christmas eve, only to find herself trapped in a parking garage when her car won’t start by the insane night security staffer Thomas, played by Wes Bentley. The two are thrown into a traditional cat-and-mouse game, which offers little on the original or thrilling side.

However, the parking garage allows for the singularly and dimly lit innovative setting as unforgiving concrete is a menacing structure. Watching Angela run from her captor and engage in mind games isn’t quite as tense and thrilling as filmmakers probably expected, but does give audiences at least one new thing to look at in an otherwise droll film.

The few scares throughout the flick are “jump-out” based and do little to get audience members on the edge like thrillers are supposed to do. The juxtaposition of a kidnapping against the holiday season should do something to add to the creepiness of the situation, but it just didn’t seem to translate during the film.

Thankfully, Angela is not overly ridiculous in her actions and for the most part keeps audience frustration at a minimum by not being a dumb heroine in a revealing dress. She does her best to fight back when she can and attempt to escape the parking garage, although one has to wonder while watching why she doesn’t just pull a fire alarm that was surely in the building to contact outside authorities.

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Unfortunately Bentley, formerly of “American Beauty” fame, doesn’t show much acting prowess in “P2” and is not wholly convincing as a madman. This may be the fault of a thin script, giving him little back story besides seeing Angela every day and becoming obsessed with her because she never pays attention to him. His actions have little motivation, which makes for a weak nemesis.

Sometimes Thomas’ attacks border on absurd, such as filling an elevator with water from a fire hose to torture Angela, and really only serve to add sex appeal to the film by making his captive trembling, wet and stereotypical.

“P2” isn’t necessarily a horrible film, but it certainly isn’t a great one either. With performances and script teetering on the edge of unreasonable, this flick does its best to be something a little different, though it fails and keeps both feet on the already-been-done side.

Alicia Wade can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275 or [email protected]

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