"So, you like to touch girls, do ya...?"
Before I jump into our review, I want to send out some big love to director/producer/writer, Alexandre Aja.
Back when he did HIGH TENSION*, I was less than a fan. My chagrin came at roughly the halfway point of the film. Up until that part, I was fully behind him and couldn't wait to see the rest of the story play out. But then, in complete disbelief, I felt like I had been sucker punched in the belly, the wind taken out of my sails in the blink of an eye. How?! How could everything go so...wrong?! It took a while for me to get over it. A great Horror film that comes crashing down like that one did, it's like some light goes out of the world. Light that grows dimmer by the second, never to be retrieved again...
Then Aja directed/produced, the film that redeemed him in my eyes. The latter duties shared with none other than the original's creator, Wes Craven, and other parties, the remake of THE HILLS HAVE EYES (2006).
Everybody has a slip up ever so often, I realized. Alexandre Aja was now in my cool book with that flick (I think it is better than the original. So, shoot me.) Ever since then, he has turned this reviewer into a true believer and a big fan. Thank you, Mr. Aja!
Although, Alexandre Aja didn't direct P2, and this was the directorial debut of Franck Khalfoun (PREY, MANIAC, AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING, I LIVED, WRONG TURN AT TAHOE), it's much like with Robert Rodriguez's FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, yes, it has another director's name on all the paperwork, but you could feel Quentin Tarantino's fingerprints all over the film. The same applies here. It might be Khalfoun's name on the IMDB, but the production at large has Alexandre Aja's signature style from top to bottom, from left to right. It's unmistakable.
This movie had two principal players involved: A high level businesswoman named Angela (Rachel Nichols: THE AMITYVILLE HORROR , THE WOODS, STAR TREK , G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, RAZE, CONTINUUM [TV], PANDEMIC, INSIDE, TITANS [TV], THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE [TV], BREACH, DEMIGOD) who is on her way out of the office to attend her family's Christmas party, and Tom (Wes Bentley: BELOVED, SOUL SURVIVORS, GHOST RIDER, THE PERFECT WITNESS, THE TOMB, JONAH HEX, THE RITES OF PASSAGE, THE HUNGER GAMES, THE TIME BEING, PIONEER, INTERSTELLAR, BROKEN VOWS, AMNESIAC, FINAL GIRL, AMERICAN HORROR STORY [TV]), a security officer, who has taken a shine to Angela.
His obsession with her is such, that he kidnaps her when she has car trouble with a snoot full of chloroform, courtesy of a rag pressed against her mouth and nose. It is Christmas Eve, and the building is shut down until after the New Year. Everyone else has gone for the holidays, so no one is going to chance upon this scene and Tom knows it.
When Angela awakens, she finds herself in the security office down in the dark and dank depths of the parking garage, her ankle cuffed to a table that has been set up with food items, wine, and roses. Standing off to one side of her is a Rottweiler ready to leap into action should she try any funny stuff. Angela, naturally, wants to know why he is doing this to her, and Tom, plays a series of mind games with the terrified woman.
The first, is pretending they can be on intimate terms. Angela says her boyfriend will wonder where she is and come looking, but Tom is smarter than she realizes (All psychos seem to be) and shoots down her lies about that almost as soon as they are uttered. He makes her call her family and get out of the party. He then gives her a "present." It is a video tape showing her in an elevator where a co-worker tried to physically put the moves on her. Eventually, she makes the move all captives try sooner or later, she attempts to escape. She fails, of course and then Tom tells Angela they are going for a ride.
He then takes her for that ride, not outside, but around the parking garage and when they come to the end of it, the shock factor kicks in. Yep. Alexandre Aja in da house!
While Tom is acting every inch the maniac he is, Angela is able to make another break for it. She gets farther than before. Earlier, after she slipped the ankle bracelet, Tom cuffed her hands, but this stops the desperate woman not a whit. She will find a way out or die trying.
My best advice here is to either watch P2 on the many streaming services out there or pick up a hard copy for your collection. It's definitely getting added to mine. I wasn't sure how two characters running around in a dark garage and going nowhere was going to be able to keep my attention for too long without becoming redundant and tiresome. I was pleasantly surprised. They not only managed to tell a story that was suspenseful and interesting but have gore scenes where they should be in a movie and not an overabundance of it to compensate for lack of real storytelling.
I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.
I don't know what film some fan boys all over the net were watching when they called P2 boring and slow, but we must have been watching two different flicks with the same title. That's the only explanation. Because P2 is filled with tension to the max. To say otherwise, you are fooling no one but yourself.
Very highly recommended.
Five Shriek Girls