The Christmas horror movie fest continues with another new movie to me, P2. It’s one I was aware of for a long time but never got around to seeing, probably because I forgot about it. It’s on Shudder at the moment so I figured why the hell not give it a spin? I’m glad I did.
P2 takes place on Christmas Eve where a young woman named Angela (Rachel Nichols) who is working late at her office building in NYC before heading to a family party. In the parking garage, she discovers her car won’t start. Thomas (Wes Bentley), a security guard in the garage, offers to help her but unfortunately his efforts are in vain. She calls a cab and waits for it in the lobby but can’t get out due to the doors being locked. The cab leaves so Angela heads back down to the parking garage where she gets chloroformed by Thomas and then her night of horrors begins.
This was a solid thriller. There’s some gore, but most of the scares come from the tense situation of Angela trying to escape from Thomas in what amounts to a prison. The underground parking garage setting offers a surprising amount of space to play with. There are multiple levels she can go to, but all the exits are locked up for the night. Even when she finds temporary safety, Thomas is there to flush her out of it, one way or the other. And without the keys that he has on him, Angela has no way to get through the gates that would offer her freedom.
What makes it impressive is that the film is carried for the most part by just the two leads. Nichols does a great job as a woman who is thrust into a horrible situation but never quite gives up. There’s always a bit of fight in her and that determination shows in her face and her body language as she moves about the garage. The real MVP for me is Wes Bentley. He’s always had a bit of a weird look which makes him sort of off-putting, and here he gets to roll into it and is delightfully unhinged as a man who is obsessed with a woman who doesn’t even know he exists. He goes from caring and jokey to loud and angry at the drop of a hat and is frightening in both cases.
“But how about the Christmas-ness of it all?” you ask. There’s plenty of the holiday trappings on display. Angela’s building has the requisite tree with its sterile lighting. Thomas’ own office is absolutely bedecked in everything Christmas, with a tree and a variety of lights that make it look like a brightly lit holiday sanctuary inside the dreariness of the garage. Which only serves to juxtapose the fact that the man who dressed it up like that has such darkness inside him. There’s also a ton of Christmas music, including a great use of Elvis Presley’s rendition of “Blue Christmas.”
Fair warning to those that find violence against animals a bit squeamish. Thomas has a dog, Rocky, that is a cute thing but becomes ferocious at his command. Later on that comes into play against Angela and she fights back, the result of which is pretty grisly.
Franck Khalfoun, who handled the slick MANIAC remake, does a great job here of keeping the story moving while mounting the tension. The gore, when it appears, is very effective and jarring, as it should be. The rest is all a game of cat and mouse and it works in spades.
If you’re in the mood for a solid Christmas thriller, check out P2.