>> P2 (Brandon’s Review, 4/10)

P2 PosterLet’s not mince words here. I really like Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levassuer they are an imaginative duo who really like gore and they make intense films (“High Tension”) but when they are at their best they make intense films with real people and real stakes (“The Hills Have Eyes” remake), but as producers and writers of the parking garage/empty building one woman-one psycho show “P2” not only have they failed themselves but their audience as well.If there is one thing I am getting tired of in the horror genre it’s the sermonizing, moralizing killer, taken closer to its nadir with every subsequent “Saw” film (despite that, all of the “Saw” films are better than this one). The only thing that can make such an affront to basking in the glory of the gory a more odious offense is a godawful performance and boy does “P2” ever deliver on that front. Wes Bentley is the offender in question here as Thomas the night attendant of the parking garage in the building where Angela (Rachel Nichols) is overworking herself on Christmas Eve. He starts out innocently enough (as psychos are wont to do) offering to give Angela a jump when her car won’t start and even diffusing her understandable albeit unintentional hostility when his efforts fail by offering up the cliche that it’s the holidays and we should be thankful (for what? psycho parking attendants? santa suits? tire irons?). In that spirirt Thomas offers her dinner but she declines the offer and calls a cab only to discover that he has locked her inside the building/ parking garage area when she tries to leave.

Shortly thereafter, she is drugged and wakes up chained to a chair as Thomas’ unwilling dinner guest. He even dressed her up and put makeup on her while she was unconscious and now he is trying to make small talk with her like she would forgive him if she would just hear him out. The small talk is really inane and Thomas isn’t even remotely charming as the good samaritan from before or the obsessed, murderous stalker he is about to reveal himself to be. I get that Thomas is a psycho and overacting is a part of the package, but Wes Bentley never comes across as anything other than an evil, sniveling titty baby. He likes Angela and wants to defend her virtue but despite his creepiness he appears to have all the sexual menace of a eunuch. Wes Bentley isn’t the only guilty party here. Rachel Nichols despite making me believe that Angela is truly repulsed by Thomas never comes across as a real person: she’s both too pretty and too generic. There’s a scene where she talks to a security guard about keeping it real (because he’s black, I think). I’ve seen interviews with this girl before and she’s not interesting, too reserved while trying to seem not so much. It’s the kind of iciness that makes you not care about her peril. I’m not saying that because you aren’t likeable you should be trapped in P2 with a crazy guy and his killer pup but the way you distance everyone makes you less recognizable as a human being so I have no interest in rooting for you. Plus, you’re a ridiculously hot girl working late on Christmas Eve (are you a lawyer?), why not go and be with your family earlier in the day or meet some stud in a bar for inconsequential meaningless sex or something. The more I think about it the more I believe that you’re being here only means you brought it upon yourself. Similarly, in “High Tension” you mostly had two characters trapped in close quarters (I don’t count the hostage as much as the pursuer and the pursued) and they said much less about themselves but still you were more invested. They also had people who popped up to die every once in a while but for the most part it was two people and they were quite people. It was like being plunged into a waking nightmare. This is more like a crappy date with a fair amount of blood.

I said earlier that Wes Bentley had all the sexual menace of a eunuch, I also forgot to mention that he drives his penis (by that, I mean car) and he rams a guy tied to a swivel chair into a parking garage wall and keeps driving into him until he blows his load (by that I mean the guy shoots blood all over the car from his being crushed into the wall). This film also has the sexually motivated killings of “High Tension.” Clearly, “P2” is like a bottom rung version of that film and since they don’t really want to leave anything out we get the killer dog schtick from “The Hills Have Eyes” for good measure, though I would argue that hot girl with nice rack is enough of a nod to “The Hills Have Eyes.”

In addition to some bad acting characters also do really stupid things and/or unsatisfying things like carry around an axe and break security cameras but never once use it to cave in a skull. Also, just before the heroine can gain the upper hand Thomas puts on a tape of him dressing her up while she is unconscious and she stops to watch it instead of trying to make a getaway or find the guy and cave his skull in with an axe. Seriously, who would do that?

On the whole “P2” is a pretty tedious exercise that fails to exploit women’s innate fear of parking garages and our innate desire to be terrified. However, it treads familiar ground and if thats your thing then more power to you but I would suggest seeking validation elsewhere.

4 on a 1 to 10 scale


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