A beautiful businesswoman awakens to discover she's chained to a chair and held captive by a demented obsessed security guard in the parking garage of the office building where she works. Sweaty and confused, the dazed vixen listens in horror as the psycho guard reminises about how he chloroformed her into unconciousness! Stripped of her business suit and clad in a backless halter dress, the groggy execute tries to shake off the chloroform effects to become herself again. But when the guard unchains her he thrusts the still drugged beauty into a game of cat and mouse. If the stumbling executive wins, she will escape her crazy captor and parking level P2. If she loses, she will be chloroformed again!
With the resurgence of the horror/thriller genre in recent years, writers and directors have started to utilize a number of locations and situations that have proved unsettling in real life to be the center point for a film. P2 is one of those films. Who among us hasn't felt a little uncomfortable in a empty, dark parking garage, with no one in sight to call out to if there is a problem? P2 proves to be an effective, if not exactly original, thriller that does a good job of keeping the audience on the edge of its seat.
Angela (Rachel Nichols) is a workaholic who is trying to get out of the office on Christmas Eve to reach her sister's home, where the family is waiting on her. After having to complete a last-minute task, she finds herself one of the last people to exit the building's parking garage. However, her car won't start, and she seeks help from the garage's nighttime security, Thomas (Wes Bently). Although he appears to initially be helpful, it is quickly obvious that he is a little off. When Angela determines that the building is locked, she returns to the parking garage for help, where Thomas subdues her and then chains her to a chair in his office, dresses her in a revealing outfit, and plans to spend a pleasant Christmas eve dinner with her.
Angela quickly realizes that Thomas is determined to prove that he is the perfect man for her, but his methods are on the homicidal and creepy side: he threatens her with his dog, causes her to call her family and tell them she isn't going to make it and threatens her with physical violence. She eventually escapes his immediate grasp, and a chase through the garage ensues that takes a number of different turns.
P2 isn't an ambitious film, to be sure. However, it crafts this simple premise into a generally unsettling experience. P2 is largely driven by the performance of Wes Bently in the role of Thomas. Bently is at first glance an amiable guy. He seems awkward and a bit shy, but he eventually reveals himself to be delusional and lacking much in the way of conscience. At the same time, he actually manages to make Thomas a somewhat sympathetic individual, tapping into feelings of loneliness and alienation. Thomas in the end is certainly a deranged individual, but Bently manages to make him more than just that.
Rachel Nichols is competent in the role of Angela, providing us with the appropriate reaction of someone trapped in an ever evolving nightmare. Angela wavers between anger, false sympathy for Thomas and fear. It isn't a demanding role, but she delivers as necessary.
P2 doesn't pull many punches in the violence department. There are several grisly scenes (including one involving a fingernail) that will put those with a weak constitution on the edge of their seat. Unlike a recent raft of PG-13 horror films, P2 doesn't pretend to not know what some percentage of its audience wants to see.
If P2 falls a little bit, it is in the fact that this film is something of a variation on a theme from other recent thrillers, so once it has played most of its cards, you can find yourself generally able to determine where it seems to be heading. There is still plenty of tension, fulfilling its primary mission, but not without traveling some paths that have already been well trodden.
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