Franck Khalfoun makes his directorial debut with the Alexandre Aja co-penned 'P2', or Parking Level 2, as is plastered onto the cover of the UK DVD release. Itís the tale of a pleasantly breasted and late working office gal Angela, who becomes trapped and alone in her building following a sequence of workaholic setbacks on Christmas Eve. Although she's not completely on her lonesome, there is of course Thomas, the deranged security guard who decides to use this night as a way of getting closer to the girl he's been watching on the security camera for the past months. And it turns out that maybe Angela wasn't going to be going home at all this Christmas.
With Aja's name attached I was looking forward to some tense, exciting and not to mention blood soaked horror. Sadly it's a long time coming. 'P2' slows to almost snail pace in the first half which is great for some seemingly deep characterisations but makes the flick fall a little flat(line) on the heart-thumping. Luckily it all turns itself around and picks up the pace.
Wes Bentley, who seemed to have the world at his feet 7 years ago with his appearance and subsequent award nominations for 'American Beauty', has been much too quiet in recent years. Wes who plays Thomas here, the mentalist who feels a strong and unhealthy connection to our female victim, seems to portray the psychotic villain of the piece with a different edge as seen in other serial slasher movies. His performance is so literally unpredictable I guess it just helped lend itself to the unusualness of his character. At no time are his motives undeniably clear.
Rachel Nichols takes the yawn-filled female lead that just brims over with predictability. Here we have yet another scared little female victim slowly metamorphosis into a strong, violent, dice-with-death femme fatale. Fortunately Nichols character, Angela, spends two thirds of the film running around with her gazonkas bouncing gently.
The story, as previously stated, gets off to a slower pace than I would like to see but does begin to crescendo towards and beyond the latter half. The unique element that 'P2' manages to introduce is it's environment. The whole action takes place within the building and parking garage. I often watch a movie and think 'Why isn't he/she doing this?' but I genuinely couldn't see a way out or spotted an overlooked method of escape. So the dark, dank parking garage very much adds to the fear inducing both for the heroine and the audience.
'P2' begins slightly lackluster but soon reveals itself to be a dark and nightmarish tale of enclosure and brutality, so stick around and you'll be rewarded for your patience. The garage lends itself as a front stage character and soon becomes a labyrinth of fear. There's blood and gore and it's all played out on a Christmas time backdrop. Seasonís bleedings.