Directed by Franck Khalfoun
A cavernous metropolis parking structure just might be one of the last things considered reminiscent of Christmas. It’s huge, dark, damp, and more than a little cold. The voluminous concrete confines are more akin to a sepulcher than that of a gingerbread house, and the mere image of one of these parking behemoths can serve as antithesis to all that is jolly. It’s a cold enough place if you’re with a car that won’t start and you can’t seem to find an unlocked exit.
And then it is a much worse sort of place if there is someone else lurking in the dark who doesn’t want you to leave.
Christmas Eve has arrived, and attractive corporate workaholic Angela Bridges (Nichols) is working late as usual. She cuts her escape at the last possible moment, as security is bolting down the building, but finds her car is dead in its spot. With everyone else already out enjoying the holiday, Angela finds herself looking for help from the poor lout stuck on the lonely duty of parking structure security guard. It's with her meeting with security guard Tom (Bentley) that begins a very long night for Angela.
P2 is a paced story of hunter and hunted that roils with dark tension and suspense. Angela finds herself in some extremely unwholesome and nightmarish situations that seem to only get worse with each narrow escape. At first her evening seems merely bad and no worse; however the pacing of the film heats the fire with near expert precision. While things undeniably start bad for Angela, they are no where near as bad as where she is headed. Bad can only get worse and worse, in this case, means a lot of grisly guts on the floor.
The film keeps the tension on high, however it does find some moments of black humor. Much of this humor is behind the attitudes and actions of Angela’s pursuer, a man of some serious reality detachment, lack of social grace, and an unhealthy love of Elvis. As is actually true with real-to-life serial killers, this fellow just doesn’t understand just how bad his actions are. He just wants a little company for the holiday and doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with a little torture and murder to get it. He wants to be loved, and that’s all that’s really important to the guy. Humor him, or die.
This film is not necessarily a new story, but it is one told well and in a unique environment. There have been a thousand or more films with a girl on the run from a madman; however P2 does everything right by having a fresh environment and keeping its tension on strong. The buildup of horror will keep people in their seats, as things just get so nightmarishly awful that they’ll need to see how it all ends. The peaks and pay offs are occasionally extreme; there is one scene in particular, one horrible sequence of guts and broken teeth, that will have people rolling in the aisles and covering their eyes.
While P2 is the directorial debut of Franck Khalfoun, it is also from the same core team of film makers who were behind the controversial film Haute Tension as well as the Hills Have Eyes remake. P2 features the screenwriting of Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur (as well as also being co-written by Khalfoun), and the cinematographer work by Maxime Alexandre. Haute Tension struck a bad chord with many due to its rather awkward twist; however most will readily admit, besides this flaw, it is a well made and good looking film with well done horror and tension. The Hills Have Eyes remake did much to redeem this team in the eyes of the Haute Tension disparagers, and P2 just might finish the job of reparations.
A well done horror film with a Christmas theme is a particular rarity. Horror films set in this season are typically righteous camp, such as the classic Silent Night, Deadly Night and other killer Santa stories. P2 is a more sincere and serious horror venture, and stands out as possibly the best Christmas themed horror film since Black Christmas set its high mark in 1974. Without a doubt, horror fans have their Christmas horror film of the year, if not the last thirty. Enjoy it!
4 out of 5
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