Sadly, I missed P1 when it was released last year. But seeing as it was such a good horror movie, Summit Entertainment has been good enough to bring P2 to the theaters. Yes, I’m kidding. There was no film titled P1 that I am aware of and aside from a single advertisement last week, I would have not been aware of this movie either. And you know, just as well as I do, that when a movie gets released to the masses with little fanfare, it probably isn’t very good . But sometimes, just sometimes, a movie bucks the trend and actually turns out to be an entertaining piece of work. Such is the case with P2.
The story starts off innocently enough by introducing us to a very pretty young lady, Angela Bridges (Rachel Nichols). It is Christmas Eve and she is rushing about at work trying to get a last minute deliverable out the door. Such is the life of a woman climbing the corporate ladder — they’re expected to fix things messed up by others and accept getting pawed on by overzealous peers and bosses. What Angela doesn’t know is she also gets herself her very own obsessed stalker too.
That admirer turns out be Thomas (Wes Bentley), a man who Angela sees nearly every day and never notices. He’s a very lonely guy – he works the late shift and gets his companionship from his Rottweiler named Rocky. But Christmas is good for him this year. Santa puts his fantasy within reach – Angela has car problems and is stranded at the office. All he has to do is claim his present . . . now where is that damn ether?
From this point, P2 becomes a claustrophobic cat and mouse game played in a parking garage. At first, the predator is in control — Thomas is friendly and trying to win Angela’s love and understanding by doing sickening acts in the name of devotion. But as the movie progresses further, the tables invariably turn because, as is the case in most films of this nature, the antagonist is fallible. Thomas’ cross to bear is he is smug and confident. He knows every square inch of the building and parking garage like the back of his hand so he cares little about his prey’s repeated escape attempts. That is of course until he realizes she knows her way around too and is interested in exacting a bit of revenge . . .
Now aside from the lack of originality – this has been done similarly before – and some very questionable plot holes, P2 manages to keep interest from waning. And that is no easy task to do since there are no scenery changes and all the focus is between two lone people. Franck Khalfoun does a good job directing the movie by keeping it moving along at a brisk pace and intermixing the interaction between the characters with a few surprisingly vicious, eye-opening scenes. Bentley does a good job switching between the different facets of Thomas’ deranged personality . His portrayal reminded me of Cillian Murphy’s role in Red Eye. Nichols is a pleasure to look at (she would have been better if her wet, white dress offered up something though) and at most times came across as a believable woman in dire straits (compare it to the dismal performance by Elisha Cuthbert in Captivity).
I must confess, it is rather refreshing that a low-key offering like P2 can outshine highly publicized horror/thriller movies like Saw IV and Hostel: Part II. Maybe there really is a Santa Claus and maybe he finally thinks I’ve been a good boy.