P2 (2007) Directed and Screenplay by Franck Khalfoun.
Angela Bridges (Rachel Nichols) is a lawyer toiling away on Christmas Eve. She has big plans with her family, but she has a few details she has to iron out before she can leave. You get the feeling this happens to her a lot.
Finally, she finishes and Karl, the security officer, (Phillip Akin) escorts her to the lobby level. There is some banter; you can tell they are both fixtures here, and comfortable with each other.
But down in the parking garage her car won’t start. Isn’t that just the way things go? When you are running at the last minute, that’s when something happens to delay you.
She goes to the parking attendant for help, Tom (Wes Bentley) tries to diagnose the problem without success. Angela decides just to take a cab. Tom lets her use the office phone; cell phones can’t penetrate the concrete and earth of the lower levels.
She goes back to the car and collects her personals, the presents, and the Santa Suit for the party. But when she heads for the ramp, the gate is down and locked. Frustrated, she watches the cab pull away. She hollers into the intercom, but there is no answer. She heads back for the guard shack.
Then the lights go out.
Walking alone, in a dark cave, lit only by her cell phone, Angela is understandably nervous. Then, out of the gloom, a hand with a rag clamps over her face! Then, darkness.
When Angela wakes up, she is seated, dressed only in her slip, at a desk set up for a dinner party. She is chained to the desk.
Tom has prepared a Christmas dinner. It seems he just wants to spend a little time with Angela.
Tom is clearly insane. The question now is how is Angela going to get loose? After she gets loose, she is still trapped in the parking garage. Can she win free? And what does Tom want with her, and how far is he willing to go to get it?
This is a pulse pounding thriller. Kudos to the writers for their dialogue; Tom’s psychosis teases out over the course of the hour. And kudos to Wes Bentley. His portrayal is phenomenal. He hits just the right notes of frustration and awkwardness.
And kudos to Rachel Nichols. Her performance is the backbone of the piece. She goes from corporate drone, to terrified victim, to empowered amazon over the course of this movie. And you will cheer the end.
Khalfoun shows masterful control of pacing. Like Tom, he’s a control freak, and the pace, dragging though it may have been at the beginning, holds the tension high after Angela wakes up, pulling the viewer along like a runaway rollercoaster.
This movie is pure suspense. That is really all it is. So rent this one, and enjoy for an evening, with friends. Because if you watch it all together, no one can offer any spoilers. I know I won’t.