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Review: P2 (2007)

P2 (2007)

Directed by: Franck Khalfoun

Premise: On Christmas Eve, a young woman (Rachel Nichols) is locked inside of a parking structure with a psychopath (Wes Bentley).

What Works: The opening of P2 is very effective. The story sets up Nichols’ character well enough to give her a little bit of depth, enough to make her a character, and Nichols does a pretty good job with the role. Before the kidnapping, the film builds very nicely and immediately after the kidnapping there is a very well acted exchange over dinner between Nichols and Bentley’s characters. This opening relies on mind games between the two characters and their match of wits gives both characters a foundation of credibility and intelligence. 

What Doesn’t: After the pursuit through the parking structure begins, P2 begins to deteriorate. It has too many elements that undermine its credibility. For instance, at the opening of the chase, Bentley’s character is stabbed with a fork in the back of his shoulder, but it causes him little pain and no loss in movement. The film slides further down the path of incredulousness with a cell phone that has the worst reception ever and the flooding of an elevator with a fire hose. P2 finally discards its intelligence in a poorly conceived car chase inside of the parking structure. Despite an interesting premise, the filmmakers do not take advantage of the limited scope of the picture, preferring instead to jerk the characters from one dark corner of the parking ramp to another with no sense of spatial relationship or any conceivable goal for the heroine to achieve. The film is also unable to do much in the way of tension and substitutes gore for rising action, conflict, and character development.

Bottom Line: P2 attempts to combine the sensibilities of exploitation films of the 1970s and 80s with classier pictures like When a Stranger Calls and Wait Until Dark. The film fails to do that and the result is a violent mess.

Episode: #167 (November 17, 2007)