Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

A girl runs around screaming and yelling while being chased by a loon who totally terrorizes her until eventually she turns the tables on him and the audience stands up and cheers for our plucky heroine.  Not the most original concept for a film to be sure but that’s what we have in the new thriller ‘P2’ which fails all attempts on the originality quiz but does manage to be reasonably entertaining despite the fact we’ve seen it all before.

Angela Bridges (Rachel Nichols) is a hard working Manhattan something or another having something to do with numbers burning the nighttime oil on Christmas Eve.  She is trying to get the last of the numbers crunched and get home because her family is waiting for her for she has the Santa Claus suit.  One of her co-workers apologizes for drunkenly groping her in the elevator at the Christmas party and finally after everyone has left except the African American security guard (poor Black guy), she is ready to shut in on down and make that move.  But sadly her BMW won’t start.  Fortunately Tom the Parking lot Security Guard (Wes Bentley) is there to try to help.  He gives the car a jump but it’s still a no go.  Exasperated Rachel calls a cab, but when the cab comes she finds herself locked in the building and the African American security guard is no where to be found to help her out of the building (poor Black guy).  Back down to the parking garage, section P2, Angela goes to find Tom but he too is now here around, the cab leaves, the lights go out and now it’s on as Angela is subdued and drugged.

When Amanda awakens she finds herself now wearing a dinner dress cut low to show off her ample gifts and chained to a table ‘Black Snake Moan’ style.  Tom is in full looney mode serving them Christmas dinner, talking about how much he cares for her and planning their life together and what not.  Realizing that Tom not only has a few

screws loose but is missing his screws altogether, Angela tries to play the ‘I won’t tell anyone if you let me go’ card which is like real funny in these situations because I want to see the guy who actually lets the girl go to see if she really won’t tell. All kinds of stuff happens as you might image and eventually Amanda manages to free herself and runs around the parking structure while be chased by Tom and his murderous Rottweiler.  Sometimes though a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do and it’s time for this girl to rise up and kick off in some crazy security guard ass.

One thing I’ll never get in a movie like this, and I don’t know if this will ever happen in real life, is that when a distressed damsel has temporarily subdued her evil pursuer she will invariably take off running again.  Why not just stand there and keep wailing on the guy, slit his throat, cut his balls off, stab him in the gut or send the bridge of his nose splintering into his brain.  No, she invariably will continue to run while our damsel distresser rises, more angry than ever – often wondering why he loved her in the first place, ready to kill.  This is one of the ‘problems’ with ‘P2’.  I put problems in semi-quotes because there is really nothing wrong with the film other than the fact we’ve all seen this before, many times before.  There’s absolutely nothing fresh or original or innovative here as the script seemed as if were written after a marathon session of watching a bunch of other movies.

But despite the alarming dearth of ingenuity in ‘P2’ is still not a painful watch.  Directed by first time director Francois Khalfoun working off of a script he co-wrote with Alexander Aja (it took two dudes to write this?) ‘P2’ makes great use of its claustrophobic environment, is paced well, doesn’t feel overly long or bloated and the young actors seem reasonably comfortable with their roles.  Though I’m sure Rachel Nichols and Wes Bentley have seen enough of these types of movies themselves and are fairly well versed in how to behave in any given situation.  Amanda screams a lot and then gets pissed while Tom is sweet but prone to insane outbursts of insanity.  There were also a couple of seriously gory scenes to be witnessed for those who like that kind of stuff.

If you’re like fifteen years old and haven’t seen a whole lot of movies and ‘P2’ is the first damsel in distress survival flick you’ve ever seen, then I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy this movie as it does what it is supposed to do and does it very competently.  The rest of us older cats over the age fifteen have seen it all before and will probably find nothing in particular worth justify sitting through the same old yet again.

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