I remember way back in 2007 when "P2" was released. Oh, it feels like only yesterday... I can recall a vague feeling of 'blah'. Blah: another "thriller". Blah: another psychopath stalking some dumb broad. Blah: a weak plot, forced nudity and subpar action. Then I let it slip from my mind. "P2"? Isn't that a stupid faux slasher in a garage? For some reason I decided to "watch it now" (bless the 360). My tune has dramatically changed.
As the movie began the name Alexandre Aja flashed across the screen. I have a sick love for "The Hills Have Eyes" remake and in turn, a soft spot for Aja. Is it possible his writing skills may have lent some awesomeness to this film (that was my internal monologue)? My preconceived hatred was weakening a bit. As the main character was developed I was searching for reasons to hate this movie. I was waiting for it to just flat out blow. It never happened. It was never unbelievable, I mean aside from the woman being stalked in a parking garage premise. Once you get on board with that, the rest just flows. There are little to no plot holes or major inconsistencies. Believe me, I wanted there to be. I suppose it's a smidgen long at 98 minutes.
Now this review is at risk of becoming disjointed. I'll try to quickly and clearly lay out my "pros".
The main female character, Angela (Rachel Nichols ), is likable and not stupid. I must stress the importance of this. She is terrified, hurt and in fear of her life, yet remains realistically level headed. I often get mad at terrorized females in "genre" films. They make such laughable choices. Angela was easy to root for. As was the main male character.
Thomas (Wes Bentley aka the creepy yet handsome kid from "American Beauty") was on point as a raving psycho. He had levels of crazy. There were crazy nuances; it was fun. I'm not a fan of play by play reviews, but there is a particular scene I enjoyed. At one point during the epic cat and mouse stalkage, the police arrive at the parking garage and question Thomas. For a split second I thought he was going to try and take out 2 cops while unarmed. He didn't. I appreciated the "realism" of that. Had he gone that route, there is no filmmaker alive that could convince me 2 armed officers wouldn't have taken him down in a flash.
The Thomas character was also sufficiently creepy and smart enough to keep me entertained. During one of the most, and one of the only, gruesome scenes, you see what a lunatic Thomas is. As he is brutality murdering one of Angela's coworkers, she keeps screaming his name. "Thomas! Thomas!". To which is screams back, "I know what your trying to do by saying my name over and over again. You're trying to humanize yourself." He isn't some backwoods moron who is going to be tricked or reasoned with.
There were elements of this film that screamed rape and revenge flick to me. I adore that sub genre. Although there is no nudity or rape, it is alluded to. I don't think full on rape scenes work in American cinema... shame. In true revenge mode, Angela gets the better of her attacker and once he is properly restrained, she begins to walk away. Showing one of his many levels of crazy, he unhinges and calls her a cunt. I swear I almost applauded. Without missing a beat Nichols responds with eerie realism and ends his life. Thus completing the necessities in a rape/revenge film. I was in my glories.
In the end the Angela character got away. Of course she did. But the film just ended there. We weren't bombarded with hugs and puppies. It left a lot open which is something I also appreciated. If one is to believe this character survived this hellish ordeal, we are now left to wonder how she will ever function in the world again. The movie doesn't bog you down with unneeded information or flashbacks. It is contained within the night of the actual events.
I'm not entirely sure why I liked this film so much. I might be so enamored with the slight rape/revenge themes, that I put blinders on. It wasn't a perfect film. There was this god awful water thing... Oh, and the end was a bit too actiony out of nowhere. But it is probably one of the best American thrillers of this kind that I have seen in a long time. Oh, and some other reviews I have read refer to "P2" as "torture porn". Ugh.
Feel free to disagree. I have yet to be able to discuss this with anyone else.