You know what I wish? I wish P2 was as awesome as its poster suggests.
That wonderful, gritty, hard-boiled eighties-ness. There's absolutely none of that in the film itself.
With an opening sequence jump-scare which genuinely got me, being set in one location (a within-the-genre favourite thing) and a nice colour motif running through the movie, this certainly seemed like it should be a winner...?
Despite all this, there wasn't much of a kick to be gotten from P2. It suffers from poor characterisation and pacing and to be honest I lost count of the number of times I checked how much was left of the run time. Never a good sign!
Angela (Rachel Nichols) is a hard-working businesswoman. Before embarking on her drive home for the holidays, she stays late at the office and when she's finally done, finds her car won't start. Odd but seemingly harmless (wuh-oh) parking attendant Thomas (Wes Bentley, elevating himself from "creepy guy in American Beauty" to "creepy annoying guy in P2") tries to help.
What Thomas does not offer.
She accepts but then decides to cut her losses and get a cab. Only, when the cab arrives and she tries to exit the building, she finds all the doors locked and the rest of security nowhere to be found. The cab drives off as she looks on helplessly. The lights go out and she's left to wander nervously through the garage. Suddenly Thomas appears behind, grabs and sedates her.
She wakes up to find herself chained to a chair in his office, sat at a Christmas dinner table and wearing a low cut, flimsy satin dress.
What follows... well, you can guess. A game of cat and mouse as Angela escapes and gets re-captured by Thomas, who becomes increasingly more batshit as the film rolls on.
One of my main problems with this film is Thomas, actually. He's not a good villain; he's derivative, manages to somehow be both hysterical and bland, and to add insult to injury he's portrayed as an Elvis fan!
As a huge fan of both the king and horror, I'd be okay with this if he were a decent psycho... but he's not. The scene where he watches Angela on the CCTV monitors whilst lip-synching to 'Blue Christmas' was cringeworthy where it should have been creepy - or at least funny. Just, no.
For a film with only really two characters in it, one has to wonder how they both ended up so depthless. As entertaining as it may be watching the transformation from prim office worker to this:
...we just don't spend enough time with Angela to get very attached. We're shown nothing of consequence to connect with or particularly like about her. It's hard to get too involved with the torment when you feel ambivalent toward the tormented, y'know? If she were a complete bitch at least we could find it in ourselves (some of us) to cheer for her fear. As it stands, however, it's all a bit "...Meh." As the finish line of the 98mins was in sight, I just wanted it over with and didn't care who had to die to make it happen - though I wish that poor rottweiler hadn't met such a gruesome end :'(
Still, there are a couple of moments of nice gore.
See how the red of the blood really "pops" out of the image, there? It does that throughout the entire film. A basic technique I am a sucker for.
So it's not an exploitation picture as the promo artwork promises. Instead, the pendulum swings the other way, toward style over substance.
I wouldn't go so far as to say the look of P2 saves it from mediocrity completely, but it certainly sugars this Christmas cookie a little bit.