Horror review: P2

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ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 7, 2007

As if underground parking wasn’t scary enough already. Ever try finding an empty spot in the Metrotown parkade on the weekend? The stress involved with that alone can kill ya. I just say, ‘Screw it,’ park out on the street somewhere, and deal with the pouring rain.

In the Big Apple you don’t always have that option, especially if you are like ambitious young executive Angela (Rachel Nichols of TV’s Alias). She’s working late on Christmas Eve, and by the time she leaves the office, the parking garage is deserted–apart from the uniformed security guy, Thomas (Weirdsville‘s Wes Bentley). When Angela’s car won’t start, he tries boosting it with a battery charger, to no avail.

He gets slightly miffed when the flustered blond fails to appreciate his efforts, but that’s nothing compared to how he reacts when she rejects his invitation to enjoy the turkey feast he’s whipped up at his guard station. Next thing you know, she’s been chloroformed, changed into a silk cocktail dress, and cuffed to a chair at Thomas’s dinner table.

The idea of a delusional man holding a beautiful woman captive isn’t exactly original, but in the skilled hands of screenwriters Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur–who’ve honed their suspense chops on the riveting High Tension and The Hills Have Eyes–the result is a thoroughly engrossing psycho-thriller that never lets up.

Nichols and Bentley fulfill their cat-and-mouse roles to perfection, she as the strong-willed, resourceful victim and he as the pitiful, voyeuristic psychopath. The movie has a few gruesome moments, but for the most part first-time director and cowriter Franck Khalfoun takes a subdued approach to the unfolding nastiness.

He refuses to rely on the blindingly fast edits and screeching sound effects common in today’s teen-oriented horror flicks. While avoiding those types of technical cop-outs, Khalfoun fashions one of the most wildly entertaining fright flicks of the year, an old-school nail biter that’s sure to make late-night holiday shoppers think twice as they push the button marked P2 on the parkade elevator.

Way to ruin Christmas, Thomas!

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